Literate Village: Breaking the Cycle of Generational Illiteracy in Rural Egypt

June 16th, 2021 | Blogs


Soumia Bilal Mahmoud proudly displays her Adult Literacy Certificate, standing in her home in the village of Beit Allam in Egypt’s Sohag Governorate. Her Certificate proves she can now read and write, however her journey to become literate was not easy. 

“Education was something that was not permitted to women because they are destined for marriage”, Soumia explained, “and it is shameful for women to go out alone.”

Women in rural communities make up the largest portion (42%) of Egypt’s illiterate population. This high illiteracy rate is linked to gender and socioeconomic inequalities that put mothers at a significant disadvantage in terms of their ability to improve their own lives and support their own children’s literacy. Within conservative communities, women’s participation in education is often hindered by structural barriers and frequent ridicule from their peers and family members.

With funding from USAID, the Literate Village (LV) Program was launched in 2017 to address these issues  and support women in rural Egypt – especially mothers of primary-school children in identified villages—to defy the cultural stigma surrounding women’s education and challenge norms governing women’s role in society.   As a partner with Save the Children on the project, World Education leads all activities relating to increasing rural mothers’ ability to contribute to both their own and their children’s education.


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