Impact Stories

First-person stories from people impacted by Ford Fund

Brazilian Woman Learns to Write at 68 Years Old

Head shot of Aminatu Azumi Bawa Dona Fatima

Ford Alfabetiza Student

Horizonte, Ceará, Brazil

Once there was a meeting and I had to sign my own name. I got nervous, had trouble and asked someone else to fill in the sheet for me.

I stopped studying at 9 years old. But with this opportunity, I am back to studying at 68 years old. Ford Alfabetiza has helped me learn to write. The teacher was for me a precious jewel. She is great—very calm and patient. I did get more confident. Nowadays, I talk to my children using text messages and I use social networks to communicate with long-distance friends and relatives.

Dona Fatima

I have a neighbor that is a disabled person and he takes me to school. I don’t miss any classes because of him. It is great to have help.

My current purpose is to have a more peaceful life and be able to take care of my health. I want to go back to work as a seamstress. That is my profession. I wish to have a car and get a driver’s license so I could go anywhere without feeling tired from walking. We need to have the will. We give half and God completes the rest. It is never too late. 


In 2018, 11.3 million people age 15 and older in Brazil could not read or write. In addition, nearly 20% of people over the age of 60 were illiterate. The Ford Alfabetiza project is an eight-month literacy course for young people and adults with little or no schooling. A collaboration between Ford Fund and nonprofit AlfaSol Brazil, the program aims to provide access to education and help reduce illiteracy rates among Brazilians.