Several neo-literates, including elderly men and women, spoke of how their lives had been transformed by the neo-literacy groups started by Jana Shikshana Trust and the Government, here on Thursday.

The programme was organised by the zilla panchayat, the District Neo-Literate and Swayamsevakara Vedike, Zilla Niranthara Shikshana Sangha, and Jana Shikshana Trust to mark International Literacy Day.

Hussain from Puttur taluk said that there were two things that he opposed – corruption and casteism. After joining the neo-literacy movement, he realised that “if you give some one a chance, anything can happen”. He believed that one day it was possible to live without the differences of caste and religion.

The neo-literacy workers, whom Yashoda from Layla in Belthangady taluk had joined, helped her to rid her husband of his alcohol addiction. She said when she joined the neo-literacy movement in 1990, she was unlettered. “But now I have learned, grown, and I stand on my own feet,” she said. She said that the leaders of Jana Shikshana Trust told her where she could send her husband for de-addiction. After her husband came back sober, others turned to her for help with the same problem.

Ten years ago, Narayana from Sullia taluk used to give his thumb impression. But today, he tells others never to give thumb impression, and his proud of his achievement. Bifathima from Yedapadavu said she too was convinced that she would never have been able to send her son abroad were it not for the confidence that being literate gave her. After being literate, she had taken a loan and sent her son abroad.

Zilla panchayat president K.T. Shailaja Bhat inaugurated the programme.

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