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Oct 24, 2012 | Luke Blount

Malawian Literacy Advocates Visit Diocese of Texas

malawi literacy women
Temwa Kalimbe (l) and Joyce Chitete (r) 
visited the Diocesan Center in Houston 

Two literacy advocates from the Diocese of Southern Malawi are currently on a visit to Texas. Joyce Chitete and Temwa Kalimbe arrived on October 18 for a whirlwind tour of the Diocese of Texas, visiting Houston, Camp Allen, Bryan and Galveston. The women presented two workshops at Clergy Conference on their work teaching adults how to read and write. 


"We assist not only Anglicans, but everyone in the community," Chitete explained. "We have an objective of helping others."


The women travel throughout Malawi to remote villages, teaching anyone how to read in their native language of Chewa. Chitite and Kalimbe mostly receive female pupils because the men are either too busy during the day or too shy ask for help. According to the duo, 40 percent of Malawian women are illiterate, but they are slowly reversing the trend. 


When they return to villages, often times graduates of the program bring their friends, confident in the ability for anyone to learn. A normal class is designed for 30 people, but many times Chitete and Kalimbe will receive many more. 


"They tell us 'all our friends have managed to do it, so why not us?' And it goes on and on like that," Chitete said. 


As they traveled to Camp Allen, and inevitably became stuck in Houston traffic, Chitete asked if cars were cheap in Texas, since everyone seemed to have one. In Malawi, she said, the biggest challenge of the literacy program was traveling. She and Kalimbe have to share a vehicle with two other departments, and often times could only visit villages for two or three days at a time. 


The two women will soon make stops at St. John the Divine, Houston; St. Augustine, Galveston; Grace, Galveston; and Emmanuel, Houston. 


If you would like to make a donation to the Literacy program, you can make a check out to the Episcopal Diocese of Texas and note "Malawi Literacy Program". Send to Carol Barnwell at 1225 Texas St. Houston, TX 77002.


Click here to learn more about EDOT's partnership with Southern Malawi.