Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Power of Reading

by Thomas Bwire

7th March is one of the most unique global day set aside by Lit World Organization to celebrate the “World Read Aloud Day” The day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. According to the Lit World Organization at least 793 million people remain illiterate around the world. This day which was first celebrated in the year 2010 serves as a reminder to read aloud and join the literacy movement. More than 35 countries worldwide participate in this event.

In Kenya in the Kibera community the day too was not forgotten as Children of Kibera organization held a special programme targeting the primary school going kids to get. This was to enable them get enlightened too. A few selected kids from one of the primary schools Red Rose Academy held this event; their mission entailed visiting some of the few schools in the Kibera community and reading aloud a story in front of other kids in a classroom set up.  The selected kids held a white banner with the words “World Read Aloud Day” as they walked from school to school.

Participating students hold up banner
Their first stop was their own school the Red Rose Nursery School, then off they went to the Primary school section. Here I got to interview a few of the older kids on their understanding of this day.

Diana Akinyi a class eight pupil was able to share her understanding of the world read aloud day. She said it is important to read and that it’s not about age, even if you are old you can still read and still ask someone to help you if you cannot read well.

For Maxwell Omari, a class seven pupil who likes to play soccer and also an avid reader. He says that “The day means that today we have to read and more books and we have to read them aloud so that other people can hear it.”

The next stop was at Spurgeon Academy School where we had the opportunity to see kids being able to read stories to each other. One important element of the  project assistant officer of children of Kibera Prisca Mawia was that once you read a story book, you should kindly show your audience the photos, especially young kids who learn to read though pictures.

Class Four students at Spurgeons Academy read a story
The last stop was at Olympic primary school where the same exercise was carried out among class six pupils who felt motivated to create time to read so as to enhance their knowledge.
World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially words that are passed from one person to the another, and creates a community of readers.

A crowded class at Olympic Primary listens as their fellow pupil reads
 A parting shot from Kenneth Okoth, the Executive Director of Children of Kibera challenged the well wishers, ministry of education  and other well wishers in Kenya that are focused on the welfare of children, education and literacy to donate books to support the community library, so that children from poor backgrounds with minimal resources can have access through their schools and community library, not forgetting the churches and the mosques who can put aside space not only for spiritual reading but other useful material that can help children in the community to grow in other ways.

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