“It is useless to send a girl to school,” Gnana’s father chided her.
Gnana cried and cried, begging her father to let her go to school with her brothers, but each day Gnana and her sister were left behind as the three boys of the family trotted off to get an education.
Being relegated to household chores and manual work left a deep longing in Gnana’s heart. Her father saw no value in educating his daughters. As soon as it was culturally acceptable, Gnana’s parents arranged her marriage and unloaded her from their care at the age of 14.
The young bride had to adjust to married life quickly. Gnana became a mother before her first year of marriage was complete. By the time she was 16 years old, Gnana was a wife and mother of two.
Even as the years swiftly piled responsibility on Gnana’s shoulders, a thread of joy ran through her days. Being a follower of Jesus, Gnana prayed for her husband—who followed a traditional religion. By the time their second child was born, Gnana’s husband, in-laws and brother-in-law attended worship services with her.
Gnana and her husband were faithful to send both their children to school—their son and their daughter. But Gnana still mourned the fact that she never had the opportunity to receive and education. More than anything, she wished she could read and write.
“I wanted to read and write,” says Gnana, “and feel the joy to write and read by myself.”
When the Women’s Fellowship of Gnana’s local congregation started a literacy class, Gnana joined the class, excited that the longing of literacy, which had lived in heart for many years, would be answered.
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