On 18 December 2015, the Gertler Family Foundation (GFF) was honoured to be a part of the graduation ceremony of the literacy training program at the St. Raymond Health Center, in N’Sele. Aimed at increasing basic literacy, the program is supported by the GFF as part of the Foundation’s outreach and educational initiative work in this region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The GFF presented certificates to nearly 140 women and girls who completed the literacy program. The ceremony was attended by educators, representatives of the GFF, and families of the successful graduates. The program is fully funded by the Gertler Family Foundation and provides three levels of literacy training: basic, intermediate and advanced.
Education in the DRC
Traditionally, Congolese women have not had much access to education, and this program has been designed to teach them basic literacy: reading, writing and speaking French. The program in St. Raymond seeks to address the gender imbalance in access to education with effective, sustainable programs for women. The GFF is outspoken in its support for educational initiatives in the region and the development of women in the DRC.
The benefits of even basic literacy, mean that women are better equipped to care for their families, help their children with homework and instill in them pride, confidence and hope for the future. Women who are literate are able to move into the workforce more easily, and provide a better quality of life for their families. Being able to read and write opens doors previously shut to this disadvantaged section of the population.
The St. Raymond literacy program does not just stop at literacy. The next phase of the program will be to offer classes to women and girls in the disciplines of sewing, cooking and culinary arts as well as cosmetics and beauty. The literacy program hopes to reach hundreds more women in the region in the next few years.
Basic health and education are central causes for the Gertler Family Foundation in this impoverished region close to Kinshasa. The Foundation has supported the St. Raymond Health Center since 2012.