You may not be surprised that literacy is a key part of the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators. What may be a surprise though, is why we put so much effort into making sure people can read and write in their own language.
Naturally, for people to read a Bible or New Testament in their language, being able to read is important. But it’s not the only reason Wycliffe are involved in literacy. Technology permits recordings of Scripture to be shared on solar-powered players, online, or through mobile phones, which can be accessed without fluent reading. Wycliffe’s literacy priority has much more to do with people – and the opportunities it provides for them – than with books. Matt and Liz Wisbey, who support literacy work in different parts of the world, explain why:
People learn to read and write best in the language they know the best. Despite this fact (and it is a fact, there is LOTS of evidence to back it up… trust us!), it is estimated that over 200 million children still attend schools where the language used is not their first language! And some people wonder why learning in some parts of the world is so poor still!? [...]
There are other benefits too:
We are excited because literacy empowers people and gives them new opportunities, which can radically change their lives for the better: physically, emotionally and spiritually. Not only will people be able to read the Bible, but they can also access books and development opportunities that may explain how to grow crops better when faced with changing weather patterns, how best to avoid deadly diseases, and how to keep your family healthy. Literacy also allows people to access other rights and knowledge that we take for granted, stopping people from being overlooked or exploited.
Read more from the Wisbey’s blog (and from lots of others) over on their blog.
Literacy makes a difference. Find out more about what it takes to support literacy work.