A high proportion of both men and women in the local communities do not have basic literacy skills. The Mozambican government provides literacy teachers and text books, but is not able to pay the teacher subsidy. The Zalala Foundation has entered into an agreement whereby we pay a monthly subsidy and additional materials. Approximately 30 adults are currently attending basic literacy classes which are held daily in the Foundation community centre in Supinho. Classes are open to both men and women, but only one man has been attending. This is a reflection of male pride – men do not want others to know they are illiterate. Far from feeling ashamed, the women are proud to have learnt all the letters of the alphabet and are able to sign their names and read road signs, doctor’s prescriptions and many other things that have made a big difference in their lives.
Once they learn the absolute basics, the women will move on to the second level. When they complete the second level, they can reach secondary level and go on to get school accreditation. The classes are currently only held in Supinho. However, once the community centre currently under construction in Idugo is completed, literacy will commence there too.