This article discusses ethnographic research conducted between 1995 and 1998 that studied the impact of popular education on the lives of fifty homeless and formerly homeless mothers. Data collection involved indepth interviews and participant observation in a family shelter located in one of Boston's poorest neighborhoods. The article argues that popular education increased the women's self-esteem, they were inspired to help other low-income women, they learned to advocate for their rights and they became more involved in their children's education. The findings suggest that popular education can best address the academic, personal, and community goals of very poor women.

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