Contributer: SIL International
As the world makes strides toward equal access, equality and social justice for all, traditionally marginalized communities are projecting their voices into the dialogue of their nations. However, language related barriers still present major obstacles to progress. Without the confidence to speak clearly, local leaders struggle to advocate for the needs of their people with government officials.
The Kol people of Bangladesh felt this plight deeply. A Kol leader described the isolated life his community previously experienced: “Before we started working with SIL, I can’t remember if any government bodies ever visited our villages. People from my age group are illiterate. Things like early marriage, infant death, poor maternity health were very common…”
After partnering with SIL, the Kol began social leadership training programs among youth to mobilize them as agents of positive change within the community. These Generation Next Groups (GNG) played a vital role in cultivating leadership skills necessary for community leaders to interface with the government and develop the interagency relationships to address their needs. And the formation of multilingual education (MLE) programs continues to benefit the earliest generations by helping young students thrive in the classroom.