“While they learned to read, they also heard that God loves children…”

Dodoma Region, Tanzania —

Hundreds of Burunge and Rangi children, and perhaps some of their parents, are learning to read their own language. Less than a year since SIL Tanzania’s Dodoma Project held a series of literacy workshops in those communities, the Compassion International programmes which hosted the events invited them back to repeat the success of their recent partnership.

“One of the programme directors was pleased with the earlier workshops,” said Michelle Haupt, a member of the Dodoma Project team. “So pleased that he asked our instructors to come again—this time during a school break, to teach children who had not been present during the first workshops.”

Compassion operates a youth programme with a local church in the small village of Mirambo, in the Burunge language community. In all, 32 Burunge and 14 Rangi students came to the new workshops there. Thanks to the success of the workshops in Mirambo, other workshops took place at three churches in nearby Kondoa town, with 149 Rangi children.

When teaching “transitional literacy”, the SIL team uses a minimum of two days of instruction. Some of the workshops had a full classroom for both days. Others saw only a few students return for the second session…

“Some children told us, on the first day,” said Haupt, “their families follow another major world religion. Yet they each happily received a literacy booklet plus a copy of Mark’s gospel in their own language.”

Students in each of the workshops were asked to bring their books back for the second class. One student returned without them. “The instructor asked him why,” said Haupt. “When he explained, we understood that his mother had them because she wanted to read them herself.

“As these kids were learning to read,” Haupt continued, “they heard the truth of Mark 10 that God loves children. May God’s Word ‘not return void’ as it reaches people beyond these classrooms. May God accomplish his purposes in their lives.”

This story was written for SIL Tanzania by:

Kenny Grindall (Communications Coordinator)

SIL International is a global partner among academic and professional organisations which offer language development services. SIL works alongside speakers of more than 1,700 languages in over 100 countries. Active in Tanzania since 1989, the organization makes its services available to all without regard to religious belief, political ideology, gender, race or ethnolinguistic background.