“The teaching from the Bible stories in literacy class…changed me”

Combatting illiteracy was the key to Protima meeting Jesus. From a Hindu family, Protima* got to know Jesus through a literacy class run by her village church and Bangladesh Bible Society (BBS). “I got the opportunity to know Jesus deeply during these classes. I learned how to love my neighbours, even love my enemies,” she says. 

Protima is a 40-year-old mother of four children, living in a village in the Dinajpur district. Having only studied up to year six in school before her arranged marriage, she was eager to join the literacy class in her village church to recover her ability to read. 

She learned to read the Bible, lead prayers, and find the verses, chapters, and books in the Bible. Protima says, “the teaching from the Bible stories in literacy class helped in my life and changed me. I realised that I got peace and joy from Jesus.” She now wants to live the rest of her life according to the teachings of Jesus. 

Opportunity in the face of life’s challenges 

In rural Bangladesh, where 61% of the 172 million population live, most people cannot read and write. Women living in these areas have little access to education due to poverty and arranged marriages at a young age. The BBS are reaching non-literate women with the word of God through a literacy program in rural Bangladesh, giving them the opportunity to read and write, as well as learn from and interact with the Bible.  

The skills they learn enable the women to teach their children and generate income, providing hope and practical help to their families. Each year 500 women begin the literacy program in 75 rural classes, with the full program lasting for three years. That is a total of 1500 women participating in classes each year.  

Students not only gain literacy skills and learn from the Bible, but they are also encouraged towards independence in supporting their families. Graduates also gain the necessary literacy skills to deal with government communications, legal matters, and health related issues.  Through church-based programs, BBS distribute 500 Bibles each year to literacy class participants, as well as sewing machines, small aids for farming and cattle to support their families’ incomes.   

New literacy skills have a far-reaching impact 

For Lipi*, a mother of three in Rangachatahat, the literacy classes not only developed her literacy, but also her ability to effectively run a business that she and her husband had set up to supplement their income.   

Lipi ran the shop while her husband worked as a labourer. Unfortunately, she did not have counting skills due to her lack of education and they struggled to make a profit from the shop. Through the literacy program, Lipi learned to read, write, learn from the Bible, and improve her numeracy, all skills which supported her business.  

“This class helped me with counting, making profit from each product, using a calculator and finding the actual price of the products,” says Lipi. Her family are now financially stable, allowing their children to receive an education. They attend church regularly and give the tithe and the offering as this is their revelation. They hope to be an example of a good Christian family in their community, acknowledging how God has blessed them. 

The influence of this literacy project both spiritually and economically is far reaching, as the women participate, preach, and share skills in their families, church communities and local gatherings.  

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” — Revelation 1:3 (NIV)  

Prayer Needs  
  • Pray that God would give the students wisdom to learn, and perseverance to continue through the three years of study.  
  • Please pray for the first-year students who struggle to begin reading and writing. Pray that God gives them wisdom to learn.  
  • Pray for protection and provision for the participants, as they also strive for stable food, shelter, and good health.  
  • Pray that the yearly monsoon season and the heavy rain it brings would not affect the lessons. 

You can also donate to support this project and help people in Asia access the Bible.  


*Names of persons have been changed for privacy reasons.

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