search instagram arrow-down


Posts Archive


Art and Culture Child Marriage Climate Change Covid-19 Disability Inclusion Dynamic teaching models empowerment Eye Care Folktales and literacy Food and Drink Fundraising handicrafts Herbal Medicine International Literacy Day Khartoum Scenes Latest News Literacy Circles Gallery marriage customs NIle rituals Nuba Mountains Older Women in Literacy Orphans Schooling Program poetry Ramadan religion and spirituality Season's Greetings Short Film Teacher Training Water and Hygiene Women's Literacy


Abdur-Raheem Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi Amel Bashir Taha Arabic Dialects Bentley Brown Bilingual English-Spanish booklet Black History Month Building the Future Burri Flower Festival Community Literacy Costume Griselda El Tayib Dar Al Naim Mubarak definitions of literacy oral traditions dhikr Donate establishing impact filigree work Frédérique Cifuentes Financial and Economic Impact of Covid-19 Fishing songs Flood-damaged Schools flooding floods Khartoum Frédérique Cifuentes photography Graduation Celebrations handicrafts Health Hijab hijil house decoration Huntley & Palmer Biscuits Ibrahim El-Salahi prayer boards calligraphy birds impact scale and reach Income generation skills International Women’s Day Jirtig Kamala Ishaq Kambala Harvest Kashkosh Kujur Khartoum Leila Aboulela Letters from Isohe Liz Hodgkin Lost Pharaohs of The Nile magarit Malikah al Dar Mohammad Mike Asher water-skins Moniem Ibrahim Mutaz Mohammed Al-Fateh Our Beloved Sudan Tahgred Elsanhouri Palliative Care poetry Pottery proverbs ramadán hymn Reem Alsadig Respecting cultural sensitivities river imagery Joanna Lumley Safia Elhillo Salah Elmur Season's Greetings short story colonial sibha rosary Siddig El Nigoumi SSSUK street scenes street art young writers Sudanese wedding customs Sufism Tayeb Salih The Doum Tree Agricultural Projects Dialogue Role Plays tea ladies coffee poetry teela tribal artifacts handicrafts Women in Sudanese History Women Potters Women’s History Month writers on Sudan Writing the Wrongs

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

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 92 other subscribers


“Lighting the candle of knowledge for others, we defeat the darkness of illiteracy.”  Thoraya, our literacy trainer, with her participants at Wad Bashir literacy circle.


Thoraya is one of fifteen Women’s Education Partnership literacy workers providing practical literacy training for women from some of the poorest communities in Khartoum.  

The success of our development through literacy program depends on the incredible skill and dedication of facilitators like Thoraya. On International Literacy Day, this blogpost is dedicated to all our facilitators.  

Read about the vital role of literacy in development in Writing the Wrongs


Put yourself in the shoes of someone who can’t read or write with this powerful two-minute video: What if you suddenly couldn’t read or write?


Learn more about International Literacy Day 2019


Thoraya Talks about her Literacy Work 

This is a literacy post for Women’s Education Partnership

Please consider giving to our life-changing work. Just click on the link below to donate quickly and securely:

 Virgin Money Giving

fullsizerender-55Wad Bashir circle developing numeracy skills through beading craftwork

Learn how literacy training makes a difference in Literacy Changes Lives

Learn more about our literacy methods and trainers in Community Literacy and REFLECT and Training the Trainer.

img_6936 Learn more about the power of literacy in Windows and Literacy Circles in Action

Learn how our participants develop their income generating skills while reviving  traditional Sudanese crafts in Weaving Brighter Futures


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


Thoraya, Literacy Worker for Women’s Education Partnership 

As well as working full time,  raising a young family,  and studying English when she can grab a minute, Thoraya is a literacy facilitator for women living in some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable.  Her dream is to go back to university one day to further her studies. 

I was privileged to attend her literacy circle several times and each time was struck by  her careful, empathetic but rigorous approach. The circle dynamic she created was one of warm, open but challenging dialogue. As one participant told me, “We are a family. If someone doesn’t come, we go and knock on their door and make sure they’re OK.”


Thoraya, you very kindly agreed to be interviewed for this blog. Thank you! Why did you become a literacy facilitator and what do you enjoy most about your work?

I became a women’s literacy facilitator because I have a really strong desire to help women to learn how to read and write so they can develop themselves. The best things in my work is seeing their awareness of the importance of learning and when they learn I know they will have a better life and know their rights.  

Learn more about how literacy can empower women in Voices

fullsizerender-119Our literacy program scrupulously respects the cultural values of our participants whilst enabling them to take fuller roles in their community. 

img_8002.jpgLearn more in our Bilingual English Spanish booklet

Tell us a little about yourself.

As for me, I am a very simple person. I like life and I want to see things in life as they should be – for example for people to have a clean environment, healthy society, punctuality and to do good things for other people. This is why I became a facilitator.  Lighting the candle of knowledge for others, we defeat the darkness of illiteracy.  But to do this properly I need to study a lot and have a lot of knowledge and that’s why I want to continue my studies.


Jebel Aulia Literacy circle – one of the poorest districts of Khartoum 

The last time I met you,  you were reading Dickens in English. 

Well, I like English literature because through it I can go round the world and learn a lot of things such as other cultures, behaviors, history, and I get to learn more language – nice expressions, vocabulary….

Our Bilingual English Spanish booklet  produced at no cost by volunteers for Women’s Education Partnership 

What do you think drives women to join literacy circles? 

I think the reason why women join is that they realize how important learning is but each one comes with her own personal story. They come from different areas and really difficult situations.  Most of them have to work to support their families by selling things in the market, or they work cleaning or in schools or making handicrafts – all this gives them life experience but the effect is they never had the chance to learn. Their learning has been absent because of their hard lives. 


Learning sentence construction and word formation 

Learn more about the lives of our participants in The River of Life

img_8005Learn more in our Bilingual English Spanish booklet

What’s the hardest part of your work?

The biggest challenge facilitators face is when we try to encourage our participants to think critically about their lives and how they spend their time and to look at different ways of doing things so they can be more productive and contribute to the community. Also older learners need more time and patience and sometimes are a little set in their ways so it can be difficult.  See Grandmother’s School for more on our older learners.


Wad Bashir literacy circle working on handicrafts for income generation 

Finally, what suggestions do you have for Women’s Education Partnership to help develop our work?

I would like to see Women’s Education Partnership offer a more continuous syllabus as this helps the women not to interrupt their learning and to have more books for them to read.  And for us, the facilitators, it would be good to have more continuous training courses too. 


Literacy facilitators at one of our regular refresher training sessions 

Thank you, once again, Thoraya, and all our facilitators. Your views, experience and expertise are at the heart of our program. 

Read more on our website: Iman and Alzeama’s stories 


Learn more on our Literacy Project Women’s Education Partnership

If you would like to read more about the theoretical underpinnings of our work and more personal testimonies from our participants, you might enjoy my article in Sudan Studies Society UK: SS57_Thurbon

img_8003Our Bilingual English Spanish bookletimg_6255-1

Please consider giving to our life-changing work. Just click on the link below to donate quickly and securely:

 Virgin Money Giving































2 comments on “A Tribute to Our Trainers

  1. Ageing Nepal says:

    Dear Friends, greetings from Nepal, Thank you for this “Women’s Literacy in Sudan” – a much needed and great inspiring work that you are doing there to fight against “Inequality” or to ensure that “No One Is Left Behind” in the process of achieving SDG-2030. Hats off to your team work. Best Regards Sanju CEO *Ageing Nepal,* HelpAge Global Network Member Yellow Gumba, Nagarjun Municipality, Kathmandu Web: Twitter: Call: 977-1-4880621

    On Sun, 8 Sep 2019 at 12:20, Women’s literacy in Sudan wrote:

    > womensliteracysudan posted: ” “Lighting the candle of knowledge for > others, we defeat the darkness of illiteracy.” Thoraya, our literacy > trainer, with her participants at Wad Bashir literacy circle. Thoraya is > one of fifteen Women’s Education Partnership literacy workers providing ” >


  2. Thank you so much for your very kind encouragement. I look forward to following your invaluable work too!


Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: