Adult Literacy Program

How Is Adult Education and Literacy a Key to Ending the Cycle of Poverty?

Adult education and literacy are crucial in the fight against poverty. Often, people who are living in poverty can’t afford education, and people who aren’t educated can’t find a way out of poverty. It’s a cycle that is difficult to break.

“Today more than ever, education remains the key to escaping poverty, while poverty remains the biggest obstacle to education,” says Kristina Birdsong, a writer for The Science of Learning.1 It’s a difficult cycle, but when it is broken, lives are changed. Education and literacy are the key!

At GFA World, when we teach adults to read, we see literacy change entire families, and that impact reaches into the community. In a GFA World Special Report on illiteracy, Karen Mains explains

“Worldwide, entire villages with increasing levels of literacy are making social and economic gains when even just a small percentage of the villagers learn to read and write. Much data (a preponderance of which is examined under the general category of education) gives good cause to make the assumption that learning to read and write is one of the ‘great miracle cures.’”.2

More than 61,880 women were taught how to read and write in just one year through GFA World programs. For many women, it was the only time they have had the opportunity to learn. Perhaps their families were too poor to afford education or they didn’t see the importance of educating their daughters. With their new skills, however, women can impact their children and their communities more significantly.

When women learn to read, they are qualified for higher-income jobs. For a woman who has performed manual labor her entire life, these new opportunities are life-changing. With more income, they are able to provide for their families. Improved family circumstances also encourages them to keep their children in school and motivates them to support their children’s educational goals. When you are literate, you want others to be as well.

1 Kristina Birdsong. “10 Facts About How Poverty Impacts Education.” Fast Forward. January 26, 2016.
2 Mains, Karen Burton. “Literacy: One of the Great Miracle Cures.” GFA World. September 3, 2019.