Adult Education

by | Mar 20, 2023

PATH International has a call to eliminating the global orphan crisis. While that can be a daunting goal sometimes, addressing the individual issues causing the orphan crisis becomes much more manageable. PATH’s Ethiopian office is situated in Chiro Town, the administrative hub for the West Hararghe Zone. According to the most recent census, of the zone’s population of 2.2 million people, only 11.91% are literate.

This statistic reflects the literacy of the guardians of PATH’s child beneficiaries—most have never held a pencil in their life.

When an uneducated woman with many children is abandoned by her husband or becomes a widow, the prospects for her are bleak. She can fall quickly into hopelessness and depression, unable to provide for her children. In many cases, such desperation leaves little choice but to abandon her precious child, or children.

In Chiro Town, PATH believes that supporting a child within their family context, no matter how bleak that context may be, is almost always better than taking them to a new home. Therefore, we take steps to support not only the child but the child’s guardian as well. By taking intensive business skills and women’s empowerment trainings, these guardians, once shrouded in darkness, suddenly see a new light. However, learning about money saving and market principles does not always fully equip these women to participate in the marketplace.

The inability to read contracts or sign rental agreements and the challenge of counting and giving back the correct change are simple obstacles that sometimes stand in the way of these women’s futures. 

PATH has begun a six-month adult education course for the guardians of the children we work with in Chiro. The first day was simply introducing the women to the basic concepts of the alphabet. The second day was handwriting exercises to help them get used to properly holding a pencil. While many in the West take for granted the ability to scan the signs and directories at a mall, the confidence and mental freedom this ability is unlocking for PATH’s women is life-changing. Adult education is the foundation for women. And they will, for the first time in their lives, be able to read, write, and calculate basic mathematics; and that will change their world forever.

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