Impressed by a women empowerment programme through literacy in Andhra Pradesh, US President George W Bush and his wife Laura Bush have promised UNESCO a grant of $1 billion for global literacy campaign.
On Monday, C Krishna Mohan Rao, deputy director of the Directorate of Adult Education, Andhra Pradesh, gave a 10-minute presentation before the Bush couple in Washington and dazzled them with the achievements of the programme. “I just told them that lives of eight lakh women have changed since the programme was launched in 2000,” Rao told the Hindustan Times on Thursday.
Akshara Mahila (literate woman), the subject of Rao’s presentation, is a network of women self-help groups who improve the livelihood of the members through institutional activities using micro-credit systems. To be part of the self-help group, a woman has to be a literate. “It is financial self-reliance through literacy programme of the National Literacy Mission,” Rao said. For the White House, the Andhra programme came as a surprise as the background paper on India said that literacy rate among women was just 47.89 per cent. However, in the programme zone, literacy among the participating women had reached almost 100 per cent.
Rao was part of the UNESCO’s worldwide delegation to demonstrate a few successful literacy models. UNESCO officials said that Akshara Mahila was selected for the International Literacy Conference in New York as it had brought “immense change” in lives of the people.