Stories

Panna: Fulfilling Dreams of Literacy

Can you imagine watching your siblings get an education while you stayed home, not allowed to join them?

All her life, Panna had been discriminated against because of her gender. While her brothers went to school, Panna stayed home, and when she spoke up about wanting an education, her parents wouldn’t listen.

Due to illiteracy, Panna faced challenges in her day-to-day life as she grew up. She had little confidence and struggled to find stable work, having to settle for manual labor and earning insufficient pay.

Eventually, Panna’s parents arranged her marriage to a man who ended up being an alcoholic. Before she could adjust to being a wife, Panna gave birth to a daughter—and her husband had the same bias toward girls that her parents did. He became violent and harassed her for having a girl, but it didn’t take long before she gave birth to yet another daughter.

Though her husband beat her and wanted a son, Panna wanted her daughters to have the opportunities she’d missed. She enrolled them in school, and though she couldn’t help with their homework, she encouraged her daughters to work hard and study well.

Panna desperately sought out opportunities to fulfill her own dream of education, and finally, an Adult Literacy Class began in her village. She enrolled, and at the age of 32, she began learning how to read, write, and do math.

Beyond these new skills, Panna participated in a special training offered through the class, which taught her about health and hygiene. She was able to take what she learned home, creating a cleaner and more organized living environment for her daughters.

Panna’s literacy teacher also shared stories from the Bible in class. At first, Panna wasn’t interested in listening—but then, her teacher shared the Gospel. All her life she had believed in karma, but her teacher was saying that anyone can receive salvation through Jesus. Panna began to ask her teacher more about Jesus, and when she came to understand His sacrifice on the cross, Panna received Jesus as her Savior.

Today, Panna is transformed socially and spiritually, even encouraging others to attend the Literacy Class. Please pray for her husband’s salvation.