Despite reading and writing difficulties, people of Kaliwiyo branch of Area 49 Seventh-day Adventist Church have always braved their challenge and patronized Sabbath worship for the past two years.
On a Sabbath morning, a church elder for the branch has to spend time in a closed corner memorizing the contents of the Church announcements. Of course he has no choice but to keep all to heart as he can hardly read nor write! The passion in him to serve the Lord ensures he is energized to walk and stand on pulpit delivering the missionary work – and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he does it!
This is the defining story from a branch church of Area 49 Seventh-day Adventist at Deya village in rural part of Lilongwe district. The church, which started in the year 2016, seats at a location without schools in close proximity, a situation that has rendered many without proper education and hence failing to participate in development agenda as narrated by the group village head Mr Mandala: “An illiterate community does not take developmental activities seriously. This situation can change if all of us in the village can know how to read and write”.
Dorcus women of Area 49 SDA Church quickly responded the deplorable situation when one energetic member of the branch church rose through ranks to become the Women’s leader of Kaliwiyo SDA church despite her inability to read or write. Efrida Chimutu confessed to CMC Communications that her challenged literacy level hampers a lot in her quest to spread the gospel: “Whenever I attend seminars, I fail to take down notes because I cannot read or write. As such I fail to effectively impart the leadership knowledge and skills acquired.” An adult literacy school was immediately introduced in the area and targeted people of all gender and faith groups.
With a current enrollment of 122 students, the school is facilitated by two volunteers headed by Mrs Catherine Mithenga – herself a teacher by profession. In her remark, Mrs Mithenga sites lack of resources as one of the major challenges facing the program: “Each one of these students was supposed to receive a leaner’s book. It contains their assignments. However, because of this shortage, a teacher is forced to cover all the work before knocking off.” Said Mrs Mithenga. When probed more, Sponsor for Women Ministries at Area 49 SDA Church Mr Yomoka Zidana, hinted that the school needs such materials as pens, pencils, text books, and such other miscellaneous that would aid in the delivery of quality education.
District Pastor for the area, Julius Chambwe, expressed optimism that the nurturing program for the new church would be sustained with the introduction of the adult literacy: “Our efforts to have a sustainable nurturing program is hampered by their illiteracy. The church thus thought it wise to roll out an adult literacy program. The school will among other things help them read Voice of Prophesy lessons, the Bible as well as Church Hymn.” Said Pastor Chambwe.
The initial phase of the adult literacy program will run for ten months.