Construction of a literacy school to benefit vulnerable women and children began in Kano, Nigeria in early November. Since 2007 local volunteers in Kano have operated literacy training out of a two-classroom building, but the need has outgrown the current space, requiring the construction of a new facility.
Women from the rural agricultural community of Nariya in Kano marry young and know little of life other than working the land alongside their husbands. The volunteers host groups of these women for three month stints in the farming off-season, teaching them the foundations of reading and writing in their single-building facility. The ability to read and write is a skill set to which these women have never been exposed. It is a skill set that opens them up to the world in a myriad of ways and an ability that, to lack, is isolating. The training serves not only to empower women to discover their own untapped capabilities but to enlighten them to the world of opportunity surrounding them. Out of the same building, a second classroom serves as a community school for orphaned and vulnerable children. This service provides not only access to education, but a place in which vulnerable children can be fed and supported. But the space is confined and children have been turned away from the school for lack of space. The students of the literacy school, the vulnerable women as well as local men, women and children, have, until now, slept in the same classroom at night that they study in by day.
There is great need in the areas surrounding Nariya for the services offered by the literacy and community schools. There is great willingness of the men, women and children to learn. This valuable work has been limited only by a lack of space. The current expansion, projected to be completed in mid-March 2009, will consist of three buildings with six classrooms, providing ample space for the literacy training classrooms, community school classrooms and accommodation for the women. After the expansion is completed, the services offered there will benefit 200 orphans and 150 women yearly.