Growing up in Tanzania, Oliva didn’t have the opportunity to go to school and was embarrassed she was unable to read, write or count. That’s changed thanks to Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion campaign.
“When I went to church and the pastor said, ‘Let us open our Bible and read,’ I couldn’t read a single word. As an adult, people used to take advantage of me because I couldn’t count. I was operating my business at a great loss,” Oliva said.
Oliva lives in the Arusha region of northern Tanzania with her farmer husband, their two sons and her niece and nephew, who have lived with the family since Oliva’s husband’s brother died seven years ago.
To make ends meet, Oliva runs a kiosk that sell groceries and serves tea and snacks while also working as a casual labourer on local onion farms.
Her inability to read, write or count used to hinder her ability to earn an income until she enrolled in literacy and numeracy classes as part of the Caritas Australia A+ Program – a collaboration of Caritas Australia and Diocese of Mbulu Development Department – three years ago.
After graduating from the literacy classes in the village, Oliva set up a classroom at home to teach her neighbours, for free, because they were too shy to attend larger classes.
“Now, I can now read my Bible. My students are happy and highly motivated, as they see me teaching them and believe that they will be like me one day,” Oliva said.
To donate to Project Compassion, visit Caritas Australia’s website: www.caritas.org.au or call 1800 024 413.