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Letters from the DRC – Economic Development Specialist

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Toward the end of a workshop about good nutrition it was time to distribute the letters from sponsors. Francoise got one; it was the fourth her sponsor had sent, and the other women were a bit jealous.

You might be surprised to learn how important your letters are to the women in the program. On several occasions women have shown me letters they’ve received, every one of them is a proud possession, a link to her caring and “supportive sister”– that’s a phrase they use here, supportive sister.

You letters are passed around and read over and over. And the women absolutely love to get photographs. Some carry the photos with them everywhere they go.

More than half of the women in the DRC program are illiterate. Most have had no schooling at all. WFW-DRC provides ten months of literacy classes which start with the sound of each letter and move through syllables and words to phrases and sentences. At the end of the program, most of the women can write a short letter, and for most of them the first thing they write is a letter to their supportive sister.

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