From 1993 to 2000 Nijera Shikhi was able to make 1,089,103 people literate in 12 districts. 350 non governmental organisations helped implement this joint venture. The dream was to make Bangladesh literate, as literacy can break the chains of oppression and poverty - it brings greater self respect, more justice, increased skills, better economic prospects and health, less landlessness and a lower birth rate.
However, there are many obstacles stacked against success of a literacy
program – the traditional teaching system, poor primary schooling, inflexible teachers unions, the deficiencies of past literacy programs, the despair of those for whom deprivation is the normal rule of life, and of course the huge numbers of illiterate people in Bangladesh. The numbers of the unschooled increase by 2 million per year.
But the biggest obstacle of all is apathy, unwillingness to change the system. Rich and poor alike have come to accept the myth that schooling is of no use to the poor and that they have no right to it. The poor need literacy more than anyone as they have no other resources. This is the only door through which they can get out of their downward spiral of deprivation and exploitation.
Nijera Shikhi UK now supports Nishi - Adult Literacy which builds on Nijera Shikhi's work in the 1990's information about this is available on this site.