Women’s Literacy Programme

The Tata Trusts have been working on building functional literacy skills in women in high-need districts in Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. The programme has reached out to nearly 16,000 women from Dalit, Muslim and tribal communities in these districts. The regions are characterised by gender-based oppression, where women find it difficult to transgress boundaries that are traditionally defined by men.

The Trusts’ Women’s Literacy Programme runs literacy centres in villages, enabling women to develop a capacity to read and engage with numbers in an organic manner. This enables them to enter and relate to the world of print in meaningful ways through multiple interfaces, including access to government spaces that were earlier out of their reach. It also enables women to participate in democratic processes as well as handle their own finances.

The larger aim of this programme is to contribute towards the empowerment of women so as to enable them to take control of their own lives. The impact of this intervention has been significant – for example, in Lalitpur district in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, nearly 97% of the women demonstrate a capacity to read and write with understanding. An impact study conducted by the Trusts also captured the impact of this intervention on social components – women reported an increase in their self-confidence. They were able to conduct themselves independently, and access required information on their own.

In order to sustain their newly-acquired capacity, these women are encouraged to participate in programmes which utilise their literacy, such as SHG groups, government programmes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, etc.

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