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Ibrahim El-Salahi Pain Relief at The Saatchi Gallery, London

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Above, one of our young participants in El Fatih literacy circle together with her circle companions below 

In times of great uncertainty,  our staff ‘s commitment to the empowerment of women and girls through education remains unshakable.  Their courage and constancy are humbling.   This post is dedicated to them. 


img_6491 Al Hayy bishoof – He who lives will see. See more on this saying below 

All photographs in this blogpost are copyright and may not be reproduced without written permission from Women’s Education Partnership 

Scenes from the Circles and Three Sudanese Sayings 




We ate bread and salt together 


Graduation celebrations at one of our literacy circles last year – sharing food in friendships forged over the year.  

Discussion of food hygiene, balanced diets for families and company-sponsored food processing training all form part of our literacy and development program. Learn more about the intensely practical nature of our work in Literacy Circles in Action  and  Community Literacy and REFLECT



We ate bread and salt together 

Those who break bread together in Sudanese culture enter a solemn unwritten contract  to protect and support one another through the best and worst of times.  Betrayal of this loyalty is unforgivable and the gravest of rebukes to receive from a companion.


Hala invokes a variation of this proverb – “there’s no forgiveness for you, Haamid – we have shared milH wa mulaaH” – to reproach her husband when he abandons her on discovering she has cancer.

From Hala’s Tale, Sudanese Tales by Lubna Asaam 


Learn more about this socially committed writer in Grandmother’s School

My thanks to Muna Zaki for explaining this proverb. Learn more about Sudanese proverbs and folktales in

Women’s Education Partnership has been serving Sudanese women for more than three decades – through the best and the worst of times.  We are committed to upholding our solemn contract with the Sudanese women we serve through the most challenging of circumstances. 


Sudanese generosity to the visitor and the stranger – Al Fatih Literacy Circle

This is a literacy post for Women’s Education Partnership

Learn more about our literacy work here:  Community Literacy and About


Graduation celebrations – sharing tea and coffee. Learn more about the poetic and practical power of Coffee and Conversation in our literacy and development programs 


Read about A Practical Example of Food Hygiene and Income Generation in our Literacy Circles in Training the Trainer  


Dr. Leila Bashir, our Community Literacy Expert and Partner, mid role play 

Learn more in Training the Trainer  and Community Literacy and REFLECT




Al Hayy bishoof – He who lives will see

When sadness and hardship prevail,  the Sudanese comfort themselves that “as long as we live our lives we will go through difficult and challenging times” (Salwa Ahmed, Sudanese Proverbs).  Adversity is faced with courage, dignity and forbearance.   

img_6517 It is impossible to exaggerate the hardship and disadvantage many of our literacy participants face on a daily basis – grinding poverty,  ill health, prejudice and intimidation. Our literacy circles are spaces where our participants can acknowledge those challenges and explore practical paths to making their lives and those of their families and communities better.  See more in Scenes from the Circles and Literacy Changes Lives


“The oldest hath borne most: we that are young Shall never see so much, nor live so long “

In a world where illiteracy among women over 65 is estimated to be as high as 90%, we hope to enable more older women  in our literacy communities  to access their basic human right to literacy and numeracy and go some small way towards counteracting the odds stacked against older women in the developing world.  See Grandmother’s School for more on the essential role older women play in their literacy circles.  


One of our older literacy participants sharing her wisdom and experience. Learn more about the life stories of our literacy participants in The River of Life

This is a literacy blogpost for Women’s Education Partnership

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





Paradise is under the feet of your mother – The Holy Quran 


The women who attend our literacy circles are often, through tragic circumstances,  the sole providers and carers for their families.  

They often seek out our literacy circles because they want to support and protect their families by ensuring their children make the most of the educational opportunities they themselves were deprived of. They want to help their children with their homework, read their school textbooks with them and attend parent – teacher meetings with confidence and self-assurance.  They want to encourage their children to  graduate from school with the knowledge and skills to support themselves and their families and lead independent, productive lives.  Our participants’ valuing of education, the personal sacrifices they make to achieve it and the newfound sense of autonomy and self-esteem acquiring literacy skills brings goes some way to breaking intergenerational cycles of illiteracy among women. 

Learning to read prescriptions and other medical documents, understanding principles of disease prevention and healthy nutrition, together with infant and pregnancy care all help to empower  our participants to improve their own health and that of their children and their community.   


Our Mother, Grayson Perry, 2011 See more in The River of Life


Many of our participants were married and became mothers at a very early age.

The detrimental health impact of child marriage on young girls is far-reaching and often life-long, including physical conditions such as obstructed labour, fistulas and incontinence and profound psychological and emotional distress.  Girls between ages 10 and 14 are five to seven times more likely and girls between ages 15 and 19 are twice as likely to die during childbirth 

Learn more about the profound intergenerational impact of early marriage and how community literacy can break the cycle in Child Marriage


Mother and son sharing literacy together 

Learn about weddings rituals unique to Sudan in Anointing in Robes of Red and Gold


In times of great uncertainty,  our staff remain utterly committed to the empowerment of women and girls through education.  Their courage and constancy are humbling.  This post is dedicated to them. 

This is a literacy post for Women’s Education Partnership

img_7062From personal collection 








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