“Because I can read, I can take care of myself now. After being in the literacy programme, I live in a world of light, because I can see and recognise letters and words!”
-Maria de Jesus, Brazil
Maria de Jesus – Brazil
Project: Literacy project for young people, adults and the elderly
Misean Cara Member: Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary
Literacy has the power to transform lives at any age. That has certainly been true for Maria, who when left orphaned at the age of 11 had to assume caregiver responsibilities for her disabled sister and could not stay in school. As a result, Maria remained functionally illiterate, unable to read or write, well into adulthood.
Maria, now 47, regularly experienced humiliation and embarrassment trying to go about her daily life, feeling the scrutiny and judgement of others whenever she had to ask for help when riding the bus, taking her children to doctor appointments, conducting business at the bank or paying her bills. Her self-esteem suffered greatly. Finally, as an adult and mother of three children she decided to join the literacy project being offered by the Sisters of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.
“I am a happy woman now. I can read the destination of the bus I want to ride on and no longer need to ask for anyone’s help or hear someone’s unkind comments like before. I am a person who can read the labels on medication bottles. I can read my children’s names! I can read my utility bills. Because I can read, I can take care of myself now. After being in the literacy programme, I live in a world of light, because I can see and recognise letters and words!”