Stories

Chanchala: Literacy and Health Education

Chanchala, which means “goddess of fortune,” was raised by two parents who could not afford to send her to school. The lack of education in her childhood led to struggles nearly every step of the way. She spent her youngest years as a child laborer, far from happy with the way her life was heading and without hope that there was any other path for her.

Chanchala was just 15 years old when she was given in an arranged married to a man from her community. She continued working as a daily laborer after the couple was blessed with children.

Still unable to even write her own name, Chanchala couldn’t help her children in their studies, and her lack of education on health and hygiene led to her children falling ill often from malnourishment. Financial constraints forced her to rely on traditional medicines for her children’s medical treatment — namely, praying to various gods and goddesses for help — all of which left her increasingly hopeless as none ever answered her prayers.

Finally, after spending four decades in the darkness of illiteracy, a bright light shone in Chanchala’s life. She received information about local Adult Literacy Classes, and she seized the opportunity.

Through hard work, the encouraging words of the other students, and the patient mentoring of the teachers, Chanchala progressed faster and further than she could have ever imagined. Her literacy skills flourished as she learned how to read, write, spell words, form sentences, and count numbers.

Through a special training on health and hygiene, Chanchala also learned invaluable lessons on how to keep her surroundings clean and tidy, as well as the importance of a healthy diet for her and her family.

Today, Chanchala can do much more than just write her own name. Literacy has improved every aspect of her life. She can go to the market on her own, knowing with confidence she is being charged a fair price, and she is managing a healthy, sanitary household.

But the greatest gift the Adult Literacy Classes provided Chanchala was knowledge of Christ Jesus. As Scripture was read aloud in each class, she became more and more curious to know about this Savior who she learned had been right by her side through every struggle.

With time, Chanchala responded to the love of Christ and received Him as her personal Savior. She now delights in following the Lord, abandoning all other false gods and goddesses for the one, true God.