Language is often overlooked in poverty initiatives, but it’s significant for most of the world’s poor because their communities speak a lesser-known, minority language.
We use language to make sense of the world and to communicate that perspective with others. It’s the social glue that holds societies together. But what if that glue comes unstuck?
What if your community was forced to uproot because of conflict?
What if powerful outsiders altered the social dynamic in your community, suddenly making you a minority in your homeland?
If your community is marginalized, this affects the opportunities that you have and the value that people see in you. Ultimately, it affects the value that you see in yourself.
LEAD helps communities develop tools to make their language more useful in the modern world. Valuing a community’s language, the social and cultural fabric that influences the way they see the world, enables them to navigate change effectively, with their dignity intact.
How would you see yourself if you spoke my language?
Parents everywhere want a better future for their children. Many minority language communities don’t have that hope.
It’s not unreasonable for education systems to teach in their national languages and in English. Minority communities also want to learn powerful languages so that their children have more opportunities. However, kids don’t actually learn if they don’t understand the language used in school. And when they aren’t learning, they drop out.
Over 2300 languages are spoken in Asia, but less than 100 are taught in education systems, rendering minority children, especially girls, at an extreme disadvantage. Of the world’s 600 million out-of-school girls, 75% are from ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities.
LEAD approaches effective learning through multilingual education. Multilingualism creates space for plurality and tolerance, making ethnolinguistic identity an additive process rather than a reductive one. This approach helps children learn better, enables parents to be more involved, and makes communities stronger as their children’s potential to succeed becomes an attainable reality.
Of the world’s 600 million out-of-school girls, 75% are from ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities.
Achieving justice is never easy and it’s hard to sustain. But sustainable justice starts from within. Communities that recognize their own intrinsic worth and dignity can productively confront social and development issues and engage harmoniously with other groups and larger society.
Communities deserve to know their legal rights, individually and collectively, and understand how to take advantage of the channels for peaceful contestation of these rights. It takes sacrifice to forge civil space and courage to have a values dialogue, but we believe all people have equal value. Societies that respect cultural and linguistic diversity have regard for the dignity of all peoples.
LEAD is built on the premise that social change requires a foundation of strong civil society and inclusive institutions. LEAD helps communities raise awareness of important issues constructively, and create a dialogue that fosters justice.
How would you voice your rights if you spoke my language?
Change is inevitable in today’s modernizing and shrinking world with the poor and vulnerable being the most affected and dislocated in the wake.
LEAD, short for Language, Education, Advocacy, and Development, is an approach to helping minority peoples in Asia survive and thrive peacefully in an era of disorienting change and global dislocation—without losing their identity in the process.
Economic and cultural conflicts are often intertwined, and a particularly toxic mixture for societies. All communities have dreams of a better future, but grinding poverty can kill confidence and hope.
What if you suddenly and unjustly lost your land – the only way you know to earn a living for your family?
What if your traditional livelihood was no longer viable?
How far would you go to pull your family out of poverty?
LEAD facilitates a venue for inclusive participation where communities can have a voice–in their own language, through their own culture and worldview–of how their situation is changing, and develop new livelihood strategies, while still maintaining their sense of belonging and identity.
What would your future look like if you spoke my language?
LEAD is seeking individuals who want to be proactive in creating and responding to the globalizing world at the most local level. Recognizing that those who are most affected by the ramifications of development have the most powerless voice, LEAD and the Fellows Program give communities the tools they need to educate themselves and their children to lead more successful lives.
The LEAD Asia Fellows Program is a competitive 1-2 year service opportunity to gain experience in transformational development. Based in the Philippines, the program is designed to help future leaders get practical skills and training as they interact with communities confronting social justice issues. It is run in partnership with SIL International, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and local community-based organizations in Asia.
During their time of service, fellows are prepared by leaders in the field and learn through direct work with communities. Those who want hands-on experience and training with complete cultural immersion are the strongest candidates for success in the program.
In addition, ideal applicants are those that:
What if serving 2 years could make a real difference?
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