“I wanted to become self-reliant”

Ruth Martin —  September 8, 2015

Gatri is a graduate of Read Asia's literacy program

Gatri knew her life needed to change for the better. All she needed was the tools to improve her life. She shares in her own words how the Literacy Program gave her not only the tools, but the confidence.

I am just a simple village woman. My parents told me education wasn’t important for girls. So, when I was little, I stayed home and learned how to cook and clean so I could be a good wife.

As a teenager, I was married off to a field laborer. Within a few short weeks of our wedding I realized he was an alcoholic … and wasted his time on unproductive activities. I knew that I had no choice but to start working in the fields as a daily laborer and take care of our family myself. I also earned a few rupees by selling milk from the two cows my parents had given as part of my dowry. However, I knew I was easily cheated because I couldn’t count the rupees I was handed.

As I gave birth to two sons and a daughter, money became scarcer. I wanted to be self-reliant—but I didn’t have the tools. I knew I needed to get an education—but I didn’t know where to turn. That’s when I heard about a Read Asia literacy program.

My dreams of education finally became a reality. I was thrilled when my teacher even showed me how to use local materials to make liquid soap, incense sticks, paper bags, pickles, and other items. Before long, I started my own business selling these things. I now earn a steady profit of 1500-2000 rupees (about $25) per month, which means I can support my family. I even plan to open my first savings account soon!

My kids are healthier, too. My teacher explained how important it is to wash our hands before cooking or eating, to bathe regularly, and to keep our food covered.

Today I am not only confident, I am also content in my life. I can support my family and live my dreams.

Today is International Literacy Day. Give more women and men like Gatri the tools they need to improve their lives.