‘I wish I had learned this earlier!’ says student aged 75

Mrs Nirmala Bala, a member of Chourkhuli (Anglican) Church of Bangladesh at Kotalipara, in Gopalgonj District, in South West Bangladesh, is now 75.

As a little girl, she was keen on learning to read and write, but owing to her family’s poverty and some other problems she never got opportunity.

And once she had married her husband, she dedicated herself to domestic chores, taking care of the animals and, in due course, of their children.

Decided to teach

But that routine is now in the distant past. Her three sons and three daughters have long grown up and all now have families of their own.

And as Mrs Bala entered her seventies, she realised she had more free time. When she learned that her church was going to host a class to help people who could not read or write, and that it would also help them to understand Bible stories, she decided to attend.

The classes, which included Bible-listening sessions and a sharing-and-discussion session, were held on five days a week. The Bengali Bibles and learning materials were all published and supplied by the Bangladesh Bible Society. Mrs Bala found it all so helpful that she never missed a class. Little by little she learned to read and write –and that included reading the Bible.

And so impressed was she by what she learned from the Bible stories that she thought they would be helpful for others in her family, too, so she decided to teach them herself –specifically her daughter-in-law, her grandsons and her granddaughters.

Nirmala recently finished the two-year literacy course and on completing it she was awarded a graduation certificate and her own copy of the Bible. Nowadays she reads that Bible regularly. But she still remembers the difficulty she once had in reading and writing –and in understanding the stories of the Bible.

Nevertheless she is delighted to have gained such knowledge herself and to be able pass on the good teaching to others.

““I wish I had learned this earlier,”” she says, ““then I could have told more people!””

(Source: United Bible Societies)

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