The newest graduates of the Chiyanjano adult literacy program.

 

On July 9, about two dozen men and women in the small village of Magaleta in rural Malawi celebrated a life-changing achievement--learning to read. In a formal graduation ceremony, they shook hands with village and government officials and accepted their certificates for completing the adult literacy program organized by the Chiyanjano Community Based Organization.

Supported by PIH’s sister organization in Malawi, Abwenzi Pa Za Umoyo (APZU, “partners in health” in the local Chichewa language), this certificate program aims to help improve the country’s abysmal adult literacy rate, which hovers below 72 percent. The program is one of several throughout the Neno District that are supported with funding from APZU’s Program on Social and Economic Rights (POSER).

The community put on a huge celebration to honor the new graduates, reported Innocent Mwenyekeni, APZU’s Director of POSER and Community-Based Programs, who was on-hand to help present the certificates. A local band and dancers performed, and the event was covered by the local radio station.

Local officials handed out certificates to the new graduates.

 

The community of Magaleta gathered to celebrate the achievements of their neighbors and family members.

 

Some of the new graduates also received fresh vegetables after receiving their certificates. These crops were cultivated in a related project organized by APZU and the Chiyanjano Community Based Organization.

 

The Chiyanjano permaculture garden, supported by APZU, teaches farming techniques to community members affected by HIV/AIDS (either living with the disease themselves, or caring for others living with or orphaned by the epidemic). Participants of this program learn about good nutrition as well as sustainable agricultural practices, such as crop diversification.

 
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