Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reading with a purpose

by Thomas Bwire

Schools have just closed for April holiday and the Uweza center is coming back to life from the day‘s silence. One can easily be mistaken that nothing much happens in the evening.  It’s just past 5 pm and one can easily hear murmurs in low tones from the adjacent classes within the court. I walk into one of the classrooms and I meet a few young students all glued to their books as they try to concentrate.

Though it’s a classroom set up, no one here is wearing any school uniforms. I quickly say hey and explain my mission of approaching them for a small interview this evening.

I am amazed by their self motivation.  Despite schools being on a holiday, a few of them are taking it a step further and creating their own time to come at our center and make use of our open space by revising, reading and also getting some educational assistance from their friends.

The first person I approach is Aisha Mohammed who recently joined high school.  She shared with me that her reason for coming at the center was because her new school requires students to undertake an exam on the next opening date and she doesn’t want to have any excuse for failing. "I want to refresh my mind so I don't forget learned topics when I sit for that exam on day one," she told me.
Aisha Mohammed
Second in line was Norah Atieno a class eight pupil at Ayany Primary school who informed me that she loves to keep herself busy so as she can remember what the teacher had taught them in school. “When I come here, I am able to avoid clashing with my mum who sometimes  give me additional house chores like washing the dishes that eat into my time when I want to study,” notes Norah.

For Everlyne Nzilani, also a class eight candidate at Ayany Primary, her major reason for coming to the center is to seek guidance from other friends and tutors who are always ready to assist her when she has difficulty with her school work. “You see I want to be a judge when am done with my education,” says Everlyne. Her advice to her peers is that they need to study hard, plan ahead and that nothing should stop anyone achieve their goals in life. Faith Jennifer, who aims to become a doctor, is happy to use the center as a safe space to study hard so as she can pass her exams.

From left: Class 8 students Norah Atieno, Everlyne Nzilani, and Faith Jennifer
An interaction with Stephen Odhiambo a form three (third year) high school student  gave me an insight into his thoughts that  he wants to pass his exams well and see his family out of the slum life one day. The last on my list was Alex Nyabuto, also a form three student.  He was happy to share with me his sentiments that being at the center takes him away from bad friends who can easily influence him into drugs and idleness that won’t be of any benefit to him.

From left: Form Three students Stephen Odhiambo, Alex Nyabuto, Peter Odhiambo
When all is said and done, the time to create a conducive future is now by investing time and energy into the books and the available space to gain valuable knowledge.

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