In Tanzania the Mbeya Cluster project represents about three million people. Although a church presence has existed for several decades, many communities only practice the local traditional religion.
But change is coming to the people in the Mbeya cluster languages! In partnership with the local churches, Bible translation and mother tongue literacy programs have been launched in ten of these language groups, with Tanzanians trained to take leadership roles in the work.
The basic literacy program will help people already literate in Swahili to learn to read their mother tongue. Materials are produced in Swahili and the local languages, including Bible stories, primers, storybooks, and books with basic information about health and hygiene. As people learn to read in their mother tongue, quality of life will improve and people will be able to read the Scriptures as they are produced.
Basic literacy programs focusing on early childhood education have been established, demonstrating the effectiveness of teaching in the local language at an early age. Community testing on translated Scripture portions has also started, and the impact of the work is evident.
A woman from the Malila language group, one of the Mbeya cluster languages, shared, “Who started this project and why did he delay? … These words straight away touch my heart, and today I have seen God in my life.” And a Sangu speaker shared, “We thank the people who thought of this issue and sent people in order that they should work in our language. God has used them in order that we should know God in our language. … We ask you to come and teach us to read, because we do not know how to read the Sangu language.”