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Women's Literacy Programs

    ProLiteracy

    • ProLiteracy is an international organization devoted to reducing adult illiteracy. One of its primary initiatives, known as "Women in Literacy: Critical Issues in Literacy," targets women who live in poverty or face other daily hardships often not endured by men. Examples of such hardships include home and community discrimination; lack of education that keeps them from knowing their civil rights; and denial of work, health care or government participation.

      According to ProLiteracy, women are increasingly responsible for supporting their families without the resources usually available to men. The "Women in Literacy" initiative is designed to provide women with critical reading, writing and math skills that will enable them to find employment.

    Mercy Learning Center of Bridgeport

    • Founded in 1987, the Mercy Learning Center teaches literacy and basic life skills to female residents in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The goal of this organization is to target low-income women so they can improve their learning potential and live independent of financial assistance. Programs offered by the center include beginner training, one-on-one group tutoring and classroom-based intense studies. These programs are intended to fit different skill levels and schedules as well as accommodate women with children. The Mercy Learning Center is also an approved National External Diploma-Program (NEDP) site, thus offering adults a unique opportunity to earn their high school diplomas. Participants apply their life experiences in genuine situations as a way to demonstrate high school competencies.

    Women's Center of Jacksonville

    • Located in Florida, the Women's Center of Jacksonville is dedicated simply to improving the lives of women. This is an organization that provides gender-specific services ranging from rape recovery to personal enrichment seminars. Through its community education program "Expanded Horizons," different aspects of women's literacy needs are met. These include reading, writing and math competency. Women can also prepare for the GED exam and learn life skills concerning financial and personal health management. Trained volunteers teach the skills to participants in individual and class-based environments to identify the learning style best suited to each woman.

    REAP

    • REAP is the acronym for Reach Education Action Programme, an organization based in Mumbai, India. Founded to combat illiteracy and place children in school, this group believes education is the key to its country's development. Today, REAP maintains 450 training centers and has evolved into a literacy movement for women as well.

      Through an activity known as Women's Empowerment, REAP self-help groups enter slum or rural communities and work with underserved women. This begins with adult literacy, whereby women are trained in such areas as bookkeeping and money management. Participants also engage in economic activities, such as making household items and marketing them for sale.

    Afghanistan Relief Organization

    • According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), only 15 percent of women in Afghanistan can read and write. In response to a widespread need for women's literacy, the Afghanistan Relief Organization in 2005 began a series of classes that teach women basic reading and writing skills. These classes are intended for females in need of literacy and professional skills by which to support their families. Each participant receives $50 per month in family support while attending the classes. The program has tiered levels, and after students complete the first three, they study additional subjects that include math and English.

    Institute for Financial Literacy

    • The Institute for Financial Literacy (IFL) is a non-profit organization in Portland, Maine. Its objective is to provide financial counseling and education to the general public. In 2004, the IFL partnered with the YWCA New England Regional Council to launch the Women's Financial Literacy Project™, which is an effort to promote fiscal responsibility among women and girls in the New England area. Through this program, the IFL works with local agencies to deliver programs that teach personal budgeting techniques, the need for saving money, and how to appropriately use monies from lending institutions. The need for establishing good credit and how certain actions, such as delinquent bill payments, can adversely affect credit scores are also discussed.

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