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A mother taking part in a Bible Society Scripture-based literacy class in Niger. Photo credit: Alphabétisation

Whole communities benefit from Bible-based literacy classes in Niger

After finishing a Scripture-based literacy class in Niger many of the students go shopping – to buy a Bible.

Jean, one of the teachers, told us last month, Before the Bible Society literacy program, only one person had the Bible in the village church. Today there are more than 15 people who bought the Bible because they can now read and understand it.’

Niger, which borders Nigeria to the south and Mali to the east, is one of the poorest nations in Africa. It’s also one of the toughest places for Bible mission. The vast majority of the population is Muslim and there is the ever-present threat of persecution from Islamist extremists. It’s the reason the previous paragraph does not contain the name of the village Jean travels 20 miles a day to teach at.

Struggling churches flourish

At one church only one woman was able to read the Bible until the literacy classes rolled into town, the church’s pastor, Andre, said.

‘Today in our church five women are able to read the Bible with a good understanding,’ said Pastor Andre.

‘The number of church workers has also increased. We now have four men who are engaged in the ministry because they are able to read and understand what God expects from them,’ he added.

Thanks to the kind giving of Bible Society supporters, these Bible-based literacy classes not only enable people to read God’s word but allow them to tell others with confidence about the good news. And word is spreading fast as Bible Society intensifies its work in this Sahel region of Africa.

Christians improving society

The classes do not just enable the students to read the Bible, they also help them to play more important roles in their churches and to lead by example in local society.

Andre said, ‘Some of the women learned to raise chickens because the programme taught them how to do this. This activity helped not only families economically, but also the church. Families are able to meet their financial needs, and church revenues have increased through the tithes and offerings that members bring.’

Better hygiene

Jean added, ‘We’ve had hygiene problems because of poor water management, but this year during the rainy season sanitation was improved and there was not so much disease. The reason being that water treatment was learned in literacy classes.’

Jean summed up the work Bible Society supporters are enabling to take place in this impoverished nation: ‘As a teacher I can say the Bible-based literacy classes have healed this village in many ways.’

The literacy classes in Niger and other African countries would not take place if it was not for the kind giving of Bible Society supporters. Thank you for your continued generosity.


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Author: Bible Society, 1 November 2021 (Last updated: 5 November 2021)

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