Laubach Literacy Educational Trust (LLET)
Established in 1958, Kerala’s Laubach Literacy Educational Trust (LLET) is ProLiteracy’s oldest continuing international program partner. The founder of LLET, Dr. A.K. John, attended Syracuse University, where he was inspired by Dr. Frank Laubach’s ideas about literacy and development. When Dr. John and his wife, Ammini, returned to their native Kerala, they established a unique program of village schools and specialized vocational training. Since the program’s inception, an estimated 65,000 learners have graduated, and more than 300,000 individuals have benefited from the resulting economic and social changes in their families and communities. Today, LLET’s literacy and vocational programs continue to serve people in the coastal and lagoon areas of Kerala that do not typically receive formal education. In regions where class and religion are sources of public conflict, literacy programs transcend traditional social boundaries. This unusual and wonderful exception in Indian society is commonplace in ProLiteracy village-level learning sites. Late founder and director, Dr. A.K. John once commented, “This is the only effort I know where all religions, political parties and social castes come together in one heart.”
“The best part is what my children see. If their mother can learn, they know they can, too.”
- Samana Panlutanura, a Harijan caste learner
In India, for every 100 literate men, there are only 60 literate women. In the case of poorer communities, women’s figures drop to 40, or even 30. For this reason, Yuvaparivartan focuses its efforts almost entirely on women. Economically, women in their programs live well below the poverty line with makeshift housing – no safe water supply or sanitation. Yuvaparivartan’s primary objective is to motivate and train young women and men to act as agents of social and economic change. The organization holds training courses, classes, camps, workshops and seminars on various topics including health, literacy, income generation, and advocacy/women’s rights. In its literacy instruction, Yuvaparivartan aims to ensure that learners can, by the end of their instruction, read at the third grade level, write short compositions, add and subtract two-digit figures and multiply single digit figures. Vocational classes are also included into the program to enable learners to acquire a trade and means to increase income and improve the lives of their families.
“Once I started attending the classes, I realized how much more effective I could become if I was able to read and write and be able to count. I now have a much better understanding of money. The supervisors where I used to work and moneylenders are not able to cheat me now.”
-Cheena Thai, Yuvaparivartan learner