Approximately 52% women in Pakistan lack the basic ability to read and write. From reading bus numbers, counting the change they are owed after a transaction to writing their own name on a document is a daily struggle. Literacy then becomes a matter of dignity and a basic human right.
Aagahi - TCF’s Adult Literacy Programme, addresses these literacy challenges by equipping women with basic literacy and numeracy skills, enabling them to make better choices every day. To date, more than 93,000 Aagahi learners - living in urban slums and rural areas around TCF schools - have benefited from the programme.
This week, in honour of World Literacy Day, join us in giving more women a chance to learn.
The Aagahi Adult Literacy Programme was launched in 2005 as a community development initiative targeting the illiterate adult family members of TCF students, primarily women. The aim is to include the family and community in the education and development process of the child. The Programme is supported by National Foods Limited, Shield Corporation, Bayer Pakistan and Family of Mr. Masood Sheikh and a few anonymous donors. It is conducted in collaboration with Literate Pakistan Foundation which provides curriculum and teacher training. TCF provides classroom space, identifies Aagahi teachers and monitors, enrolls learners, and coordinates the programme.
Aagahi is beyond just developments in literacy. Rather, it is the transformation of an individual into a more engaged and involved member of society. Aagahi mothers find that they are able to communicate better with children and teachers. Aagahi learners are able to keep abreast of current aﬀairs by reading the newspaper, and feel empowered to perform tasks such as opening a bank account, paying bills, making shopping lists, managing household budgets, and reading medical prescriptions. In doing these tasks independently, they gain respect of their families which boosts the self-confidence of these women further.
Aagahi classes are conducted as two cycles every year: January to May, and then September to December. The Urdu literacy module “Jugnoo Sabaq”, comprises of four workbooks, three to teach phonetics based recognition of sounds and one for basic numeracy. The books are taught by trained instructors, 2 hours a day, 6 days a week over a period of 3 months. By the end of the course, a learner is equipped to read and write in Urdu and can do basic math calculations.
To date, more than 93,000 Aagahi learners - living in urban slums and rural areas around TCF schools - have benefited from the programme through 5,000+ centers in 68 towns and cities across all 4 provinces of Pakistan. Annually, the Aagahi programme targets 1000+ centers in order to attain 16000+ successful learners across the country.
Aagahi was selected as one of the winners of the 2017 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy.
UNESCO’s Eﬀective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database (Litbase), a project by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has also featured Aagahi as a case study on its website in 2017.