Women attend Ain Ata's literacy classes, Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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Classes in Ain Ata, in the Bekaa Valley's Rashaya district, kicked off two months ago to cater to at least 53 persons, including three men, in the community of 2,900 who did not know how to read and write, said Taftanaz Hamdan, member of a local NGO, the Women's Social and Charity Association.Hamdan, whose own mother is among the program learners, said only 10 candidates turned up for classes, while the rest mostly felt embarrassed to reveal their handicap, and a few were not interested.Umm Fouad said she was encouraged to join the program by her family, especially her grandchildren, who offered to help her out with her homework.The literacy program launched under the motto "For a Better Life" is divided into three phases stretching over a six-month-period each and consisting of 144 hours of classes covering Arabic reading and writing and basic mathematics, explains Neamat Geagea, program director at the Social Affairs Ministry."Any person above 15 who does not read and write properly is considered illiterate, hence an eligible candidate for the program," Geagea told The Daily Star. She said the ministry launched the program in 1997, with classes held at the ministry's centers across Lebanon.
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