Millions live without reading or writing in their own language; many more live without Scripture in their own language. Wycliffe offers hope by creating writing systems, teaching literacy, and translating the Bible worldwide. Wycliffe-sponsored linguists often work among marginalized people groups. They analyze unwritten languages and create systems of writing. Once reading materials are available, interested members of the community can learn to read and write in their heart language, and do basic math. Learning to read is one of the most exciting steps that the speakers of a minority language can take. Many people have never had training in reading; others have had some schooling in an unfamiliar market language and have felt defeated by the challenge of understanding it. Literacy specialists sponsored by Wycliffe have helped thousands of people around the world discover that they can learn to read. They often contribute to the development of a primary school curriculum and the training of teachers. Often, literacy classes are offered to adults, as well as children. Additionally, Wycliffe, with the help of other partnering organizations, has translated full Bibles or New Testaments in nearly 800 languages worldwide. Yet nearly 1,900 languages, representing about 180 million people, do not have one sentence of the Bible. Wycliffe hopes to see a translation started in all languages that need one by the year 2025.
Wycliffe opens the door to literacy training and Scripture access. Wycliffe sponsors the training of literacy workers and promotes mother tongue literacy programs around the world. People who learn to read find that their new literacy skills have benefits, such as better jobs in order to provide for their families, access to a variety of information and increased participation in the broader culture. Here is a video about literacy work supported by Wycliffe: http://vimeo.com/7082264 Wycliffe funds projects of various language organizations including SIL International, which is the source of some information in this synopsis. The education specialists and consultants of SIL provide services to local communities, government and non-government agencies and institutions that are engaged in planning and implementing literacy and education programs in non-dominant language communities. Additionally, Wycliffe promotes access to vital health information, such as Kande’s Story, the story of an orphan affected by AIDS and how she and her siblings found help and hope through her church community. This booklet is available in over 190 languages in more than 20 countries. At the end of a Kande’s Story teacher training workshop in Kenya, a teacher said that she had attended many workshops, but had never been able to fully understand the facts because the information was not presented in her mother tongue. This time, she was able to learn and understand more about the current pandemic because it was presented in her heart language.
Here is a video about Kande’s Story (statistics are not up to date): http://vimeo.com/12371479
Finally, Wycliffe supports trauma healing programs in some areas that have been affected by war. More than 5.4 million people were killed from violence or diseases in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since the time fighting broke out in 1998, according to the International Rescue Committee. Here is a video about this work in the Democratic Republic of Congo: http://vimeo.com/12371479
With the Bible, language development and literacy, doors can open to new possibilities. Wycliffe offers opportunity, freedom and hope. As people learn through the tool of literacy that they are valuable to God, they can rise out of spiritual, emotional and physical poverty to make an impact in the world around them. Video on the Bible translation process: http://vimeo.com/43033345