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Community Literacy definitions of literacy oral traditions Fishing songs Khartoum proverbs ramadán hymn Respecting cultural sensitivities street scenes street art young writers Tayeb Salih The Doum Tree Agricultural Projects Dialogue Role Plays tea ladies coffee poetry Women in Sudanese History writers on Sudan

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Community Literacy

Why this Blog?  Why does Literacy Matter?  The Cultural Context 


See my latest cultural post for December here: Forests and Spirits on the Sudanese artist, Kamala Ishaq



Why this Blog?


Read more in Literacy Circles in Action

Women’sLiteracySudan opens a window onto the remarkable lives of the women attending the community literacy circles of Women’s Education Partnership in Khartoum and hopes to share with and learn from others in the fields of women’s community literacy and empowerment.

Interested in supporting our work? Visit Women’s Education Partnership


Our literacy program coordinator, Mrs Adila Abdel Rahman, discussing annual household income and expenditure with a literacy participant as part of writing and numeracy skills. 

The pages and Posts in this blog charter the pioneering community-building work of WEP’s Arabic literacy workers delivering REFLECT joint literacy and development programs to disadvantaged communities in Sudan.   REFLECT is a community-driven approach to education and development  where the wealth of knowledge and experience of local people are recognized as key to bringing about successful longterm change. Learn more about Community Literacy and REFLECT and see our Literacy Circles in Action

Visit About to read more on why I started this blog

Visit Contact to get in touch and to receive regular updates

For my latest posts on literacy, see Coffee and Conversation and Voices

I watch as Salma – I’ll call her Salma – works her quiet morning alchemy. The inch-high silt-drift of sugar in the bottom of my glass coalesces as she pours over the coffee.  For an instant the sticky sediment is as dense and aromatic as molten tar, before dissolving upwards in dark clouds as I stir.  There is a warm tang of ginger  in today’s brew – “It’s good for the stomach and wakes up the brain”, Salma explains, throwing me a knowing smile……  Read more in Coffee and Conversation 


Hajj Jusif Literacy Circle – our Country Director, Mrs Neimat Issha, admiring traditional food covers made by participants out of recycled plastic as part of numeracy and income generation skills

Why does Literacy Matter?

The UN recognizes the urgent need for worldwide action on adult literacy and acknowledges that women throughout the world are disproportionally disadvantaged by illiteracy.  REFLECT literacy and development programs have received UN recognition as effective and sustainable.

You can read about the life-changing impact of literacy programs on gender equality, health, mobility and livelihood here: Writing the Wrongs


How Literacy Empowers All Communities 

United Nations International Literacy Day 2018 International Literacy Day

Read about UN’s Sustainable Development Goals


Dr Leila Bashir, expert in REFLECT community literacy, explaining how human rights awareness is an integral part of community literacy work


Some Scenes from our Literacy Circles 


El Fatih Literacy Circle, Khartoum 

The Cultural Context 

As well as discussing the challenges and achievements of our women’s Arabic community literacy work in my posts,   I explore aspects of Sudanese cultural life which reflect the beauty and diversity of this fascinating country.

See Upcoming Events and Links


See Khartoum Scenes and Proverbs with Muna Zaki for my latest cultural posts


All Photographs in this blog are copyright Imogen Thurbon and may not be reproduced without written permission.

Interested in supporting our work? Click below to learn more about us:

Women’s Education Partnership


As this blog aims to promote understanding of and dialogue around Sudanese women’s educational, cultural and community life, no comments of a political or culturally divisive nature will be published.


Literacy Circles in Action   Posts          

Community Literacy and REFLECT   The Power of Folktales

Upcoming Events  Literacy and Development Links

Visit my other blog here




20 comments on “Community Literacy

  1. kpettus says:

    Beautiful photos Im! Congratulations.


    1. Thank you so much, Katherine.


      1. boswyck says:

        I’m now able to read this properly. Absolutely superb. Many Congratulations Imogen for this inspirational insight.


  2. jeremily2017 says:

    Amazing photos! thanks for posting!


    1. Thank you for your kind comment and interest!


  3. munaizaki says:

    Stunning photos! Wonderful eye-catching content!


  4. ibnnyaoka says:

    Dear Imogen,

    I have named myself after a mysterious character from the ancient folklore of Faras in northern Sudan.

    Kikiláañ Ibn Nyaóka Abu’l Miya, Jidd al-Alf.

    I’m not sure whether Nyaóka was a Kandáaka or an Eparch.



    1. That’s wonderful, Herman! I need to learn more about ibnnyaoka – perhaps in August?


      1. ibnnyaoka says:

        We can visit the Sudan art exhibition in he Ashmolean.


      2. ibnnyaoka says:

        I love the Sudan because it is the Home of Literacy.
        The people of Sudan were literate more than 2000 years before the English were literate.
        The women of Sudan know the power of literacy.
        Ma sha Allah !


  5. ibnnyaoka says:

    We can visit the Sudan art exhibition in the Ashmolean.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 77louise says:

    Beautiful! Real inspirational feeling transmitted in the images. Thank you.


    1. Thank you so much, Louise.


  7. normwep says:

    Superb photos Imogen, thanks for letting me show some of these to our women’s group at my local church – everyone was captivated


  8. nicolalondon says:

    Thank you Imogen. Teaching women to fish! Literacy is a wonderful thing. I am sure the beauty of your blog reflects the essence of the programme; the women must be learning in an inspiring and uplifting environment.


  9. huwjarvis says:

    Great work, many congratulations. Like you (?) my life-long work in language education can be traced back to teaching English in Sudan in the early 80s. Keep up this good work #WonderfulPeople #WonderfulPlace . Huw Jarvis, Editor & Founder of


  10. Islam says:

    Love blog and photo’s makes me want to go Sudan and have coffee with Salma.


    1. You are so kind, Islam. Your kind words mean a lot to me, knowing your dedication and wonderful work.


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