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How would you feel if you were unable to read and write? Most people take it for granted – but not everyone

In 2009, Elisabeth Grieg visited Rwanda together with Care and their Village Saving and Loan groups (VSL). It made an enormous impression.

The VSL groups are the core activity in Care, empowering women and men to income-related work. However, it became clear that many of the participants in these groups were illiterate and as a consequence faced a lot of challenges. Elisabeth Grieg encouraged Care to come up with a project to rectify this issue.

Since 2011/2012 almost 60.000 people, mainly women have become literate through the Literacy and Numeracy Empowerment Project supported by Grieg Foundation.

Last week we visited Rwanda and attended the graduation of some of these students.

Seeing the pride in their eyes and listening to their stories on how this had changed their lives was a highly memorable moment. Becoming literate had made them more self confident, enabling them to start their own business or just being able to help their children with their homework and see the importance of letting their children go to school. All unique stories.

Her dignity – Our pride

After 2014, an important part of the project has been to discover and nurture entrepreneurship among women. We met Assumpta Mukayiranga, 23 years old woman, in a VSL group and she invited us to her hairdressing saloon. She started as a hairdresser, but was not satisfied working for others. She joined a VSL and after being able to save some money, she was granted a loan enabling her to start her own hairdressing saloon. She now has two employees and the ambition of growing further enabling her to contribute to the local society and paying school fees for her younger sister.

The Literacy and Numeracy Empowerment Project is a project to be very proud of and a good example of Per Grieg sr.´s saying: “What matters are the footprints we leave behind”

Read more about the partnership between Grieg Foundation and Care at their web site.