Learning to read changed
Dhanamaya’s entire life.

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Older woman from Nepal with her literacy diploma, clapping her hands.
© Aging Nepal

Dhanamaya proudly shows her graduation certificate from Ageing Nepal`s Basic Literacy Class

“Everything changed after I enrolled in the literacy class ... Now, I can proudly say that I am supporting my grandchildren.”

Meet Dhanamaya

Dhanamaya Khatiwoda is from a remote village in Nepal. She was married off at 15 and, by age 49, was a widow with four children. A few years ago, she lost her son because he couldn’t get medical treatment in time. When her young granddaughter fell ill and needed a hospital, the family moved to Kathmandu. City life was difficult for Dhanamaya, who never learned to read, write, or recognize numbers.

In her 70s, she enrolled in a basic literacy class run by Ageing Nepal, a HelpAge network member

The class, designed for people age 60 and over, taught Dhanamaya to read, write, and do basic math. Ageing Nepal also showed her how to use a mobile phone. She states: “Now I can use phones and do simple addition and subtraction. I can read packet labels. I am not afraid anymore of going out alone and getting lost, because I can read the route numbers of the buses, street signs, and street numbers.”

Along with literacy, she now has friends and confidence

Dhanamaya, whose entire life has been transformed, says: “But what’s also so wonderful are all the friends I’ve made through the class who I can talk to and share my feelings. Confidence building sessions have shown me the importance of stating my opinion strongly, even to a group of strangers.

How you can help people like Dhanamaya

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