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The beginning of learning more

India, October 26, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps  </span>
    "Now I want to write my name in English." Photo: Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps  </span>
    "I want to write in English now — numbers, figures letters. I want to learn English because the lines are recognized as ‘A, B, C.’ I want to learn the figure 48!” Photo: Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps  </span>
    "If the program is implemented again I will be very happy. I want to learn more. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn. I am very grateful." Photo: Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps  </span>
    “I am confident now, and if I have more time, I could learn more. I feel confident that I can learn and know more.” Photo: Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps  </span>
    "I want to learn more! I want to go to class again.” Photo: Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps  </span>
    “If I could get one more opportunity to learn more, I would be happy.” Photo: Leah Hazard/Mercy Corps

When I was in Assam last month visiting with women in our literacy programs, I heard the same sentiment over and over again: the women want to learn more now. Some want to learn English or develop their abilities in their native Assamese — but mostly they have gained confidence in their ability to learn, and they want to learn whatever they can.

After years of providing a thumbprint signature, women can sign their name to receive their paycheck. After a lifetime of not knowing if shop keepers at the market were giving them the correct change, they are now financially literate. They are now recognized by as being educated — and are helping their children succeed in school so they never have to know the struggles of illiteracy.