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

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Windows onto a Better Future  


Building a Better Future through Literacy – Illustrated Extracts from our Monthly Literacy Reports by our Sudanese Literacy Programs Coordinator 


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

This is a literacy post for Women’s Education Partnership

Learn more about our literacy work in Community Literacy and About


 Learn about our commitment to our staff in these times of great uncertainty and change in Bread and Salt and see some famous Sudanese sayings too



Extracts from our Monthly Literacy Reports 

The Power of Education – Health Literacy – Numeracy for Financial Autonomy – Reflecting on  Customs and Traditions


Recognizing the Power of Education

“One day my daughter came and told me there was a literacy class at our school for free. I went and registered my name.  They gave me notebooks and other learning aids. Since then I insisted to continue learning.  I learnt to write my name and so many things and I gained handicraft skills.  I also learned how to rationalize my expenditure and manage my time. And I learned about healthy food and how to prepare good meals for my family.  I thank God.” – one of our literacy participants


Above, literacy circle participants working on beading designs

Learn more about the many ways our literacy projects can change lives in Literacy Changes Lives,  Scenes from the Circles,  Voices


Above, a stimulating learning environment in our literacy circles 

“They discussed the situation of education in the area as to the number of schools, their construction, the capacity of the rooms as well as the costs of school attendance and supplies. Each learner drew a template showing the number of literate and illiterate people in their family. they talked about the difficulties that face illiterate people.”


Above, breaking intergenerational cycles of illiteracy 

“They came to the conclusion that formal education is very necessary for children to depend on themselves and build their future.  They learned to read and write new words and verses related to education.”


Map of the local area produced by our participants, focusing on community facilities, such as schools, health centers, mosques and police station.  


Model for Mapping Local Facilities 

“I got married at 13. I suffered in my life because of being illiterate. But I committed myself to send my children to school whatever it cost me” – one for our participants 


Health  Literacy for Community Development 


Above, all ages and backgrounds embraced in our literacy circles 

“They discussed health and the ways to keep oneself healthy, how to combat flies, mosquitos and and other insects that cause infections.  They drew pictures illustrating the topic.  As a result of the discussion they suggested a visit to the health centre in the area.  They decided to launch unawareness campaign afterwards among the neighboring houses to raise the families’ awareness of public health.”


Above, campaign poster for cleaning up the local environment, produced by our literacy participants

“They discussed endemic diseases in the area, especially those related to winter like coughs, respiratory infections.  They learned how to clean water ans keep it away from pollution using simple methods.”


Health Calendar model from our manual 


Numeracy for Financial Autonomy 


Above, games and competitions for active learning 

“In numeracy they learned to read and write numbers up to one thousand.  They did exercises on counting the cost of a meal, a medical treatment for malaria and water an electricity bills.”

“They learned to read digits in English so as to use a mobile phone.” 


Above, numeracy is the first step to financial autonomy which benefits all the family 

“In numeracy they learnt to calculate the costs of the different foodstuffs and did exercises on them in addition multiplication, subtraction and division.” 


Above, list of basic foodstuffs such as flour, sugar and meat, with their prices

“The third week they had exercises on learning to read and write words on bakery quantities and recipes so as to prepare themselves for the bakery training …..the facilitator reported that the bakery training was a good energizer after which the ladies became more active and creative.” 


An income (the roots) and expenditure (branches) tree, including rent, oil, water and bread costs 

img_1623Designing activities for financial autonomy from our manual


Reflecting on Customs and Traditions – Breaking the Circle


Above, literacy circles provide a space to explore complex issues 

“They studied the 5th unit of Our Customs and Traditions. They discussed positive traditions like cooperation among the extended family in the different occasions being both sad or pleasant, and the negative ones like early marriage; FGM……They drew a matrix of the different social and religious occasions during the year They learned to rea ans write new words and sentences related to the topic.”

Read more in Child Marriage and The Power of Folktales  


Above, one of our circles. Our literacy work scrupulously respects Sudanese cultural and religious values 

“They drew the tree of peace and discussed the causes and results of insecurity in the  area. They discussed the problems they are facing, like feeling fear and insecurity.”


Read more about the personal challenges facing our participants in The River of Life


This is a literacy post for Women’s Education Partnership

Learn more about our literacy work in Community Literacy and REFLECT


My next cultural post coming out next week – Ibrahim El-Salahi and his exhibition “Pain Relief ” at the Saatchi Gallery, London 


2 comments on “Windows

  1. Very interesting blog. Please keep me updated. Thank you.


  2. Simon, thank you so very much for taking the time to read this. Your comment is much appreciated, as is any guidance you might be able to give to improve both the blog and our project! Once again, thank you.


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