Jun 7, 2018

10 Million Books to 10 Million Kids - Yes We can!

Children showing off books they had received
Children showing off books they had received

In my village, a typical boy – call him Sam will drop out of school in grade 4 or 5 partly because he cannot read and comprehend and has failed to pass his end of year exams to go to the next class. After repeating this class once or twice he losses interest in coming to school, where he gets called names. Sam is one of the 70% of children in primary schools in Uganda who can not read and comprehend and so end up dropping out before they complete primary school.

When he drops out he will end up in the Sugar cane plantation cutting sugar cane to earn an income. Two years later, he is an active teenager with an income. As emotions rage on in his developing body, he makes a school girl almost his age pregnant. Their poor parents force them to get married because they can’t handle the burden of taking care of baby. Sam is allocated a small piece of land in his father’s compound where he builds his small hut and starts a family. By the time he is 25, he has 6 kids and is tired of his wife. He makes another school girl pregnant and makes her his second wife. By age 30, Sam is having multiple children, and several wives and concubines. He is no longer as energetic as he was before and several jobs pass him at the sugar cane plantation. His family demands have quadrupled and out of frustration he resorts to alcohol. Sam will most likely be dead before his 45thbirthday and his children, having no role model, will repeat the same cycle. 

It is this cycle that we are working to break. Our focus is on making learning fun, and enabling children to LEARN to READ so they can READ to LEARN. Through this campaign to take 10 million books to 10 million kids across the country, we believe we can make a difference. 

Many Children like Sam do not have access to books that they can relate to, and in many ways for them reading = exams which is not fun. This campaign is geared towards providing beautifully illustrated and locally relevant children’s books. 

Since the inception of this campaign, with your help we have gotten over 40,000 books into the hands of children, thanks to you and we hope we shall be able to continue this trend and get several children reading. We are still a long way to getting books into the hands of children. Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. You know your friends and family best, so use your own words - tell them why you chose our project and what it means to you.

Links:

Apr 18, 2018

Growing Stronger

Teacher Training in Iganga, Eastern Uganda
Teacher Training in Iganga, Eastern Uganda

We spent the past month traversing the entire country, training and engaging over 1,700 teachers and school principles in 20 different locations. We have expereineced great cooperation and a warm welcome everywhere we went, especially from local government (district) education officials. In the past, efforts to cooperate with government officials was not easily forthcoming, however, this year, they were all eager to be involved, designate staff to our activities and actively engage in mobilising schools, securing free venues for the training workshops and talking to service providers. This is huge.

In many of these places, like Arua, in West Nile, we had 415 teachers show up for the training, the room we had got for this grew smaller, and we ran out of seats, the teachers who came for the training did not give up or walk away, they stayed and stood in doorways and windows to make sure they catch on what we were sharing. This is unprecedented, given the fact that, apart from a lunchtime meal, we were not paying a transport refund or facilitation fee, a common occurance with NGOs.

These high numbers are evident that word about the impact of our programs in schools has gone out ahead of us and every school principle, teacher or local government official who heard of this program was eager to get involved. We hope that as many as they turn out and get to participate, the impact we are creating will spread further and many more children will be able to be excited about learning and choose to stay in school. 

The efforts to improve learning outcomes are growing stronger, thanks to your continued support. Many teachers and educators are eager to work with us to find a lasting solution to the low literacy and high school drop outs that we face every day.

In the last three months we have also developed a partnership with World Vision, expanding and intergrating our literacy program in all their 650 schools across the country. Our relationship with the Ministry of Education also contiues to grow stronger.

In the next three months, we shall be conducting several reading activities in schools and distributing books as part of our #10MBooksto10MKids campaign to get children to fall in love with books, LEARN to READ so they can self teach. We shall also be involved with several schools supporting them to set up Reading Clubs and organise School based Spelling Bees. In June and July, we shall conduct our district and regional Spelling Bee.

As this effort continues, we still need your help, to close this project and to hit our fundraising target of $40,000. We currently have $500 to go. Any little bit matters. If you want to chip in, feel free to go to http://bit.ly/SUPPORTREADING

Teacher Training in Lira, Northern Uganda
Teacher Training in Lira, Northern Uganda
Teacher Training in Western Uganda
Teacher Training in Western Uganda
Feb 12, 2018

Falling in Love

Random children found on the street sit to read
Random children found on the street sit to read

Ivan and Sam, are two terrible readers and good friends. The two friends are aged 7 and are in primary one. They can’t read and understand English.  But a few days ago, the duo frequented a house of one of our colleagues and demanded for reading materials. He gave them one of the books we publish and distribute, and they followed the pictorial story, sharing their own interpretation. When they were done, they asked for a second one. Though, they cannot read and comprehend yet, they are able to look at this well illustrated book and create their own imaginative stories out of what they see. Ivan and Sam have just fallen in love with books, and this is going to lead them to learn to read so they can read to learn.

When we started this campaign to take 10 million books to 10 million kids, this is exactly what we had in mind, children every where falling in love with books, so they can learn to read. This is because, according to Uwezo, 7 of every 10 children in Uganda cannot read and comprehend. We believe that with your help we can make a difference, and help 10 million children in Uganda fall in love with books, and in small ways this has started to happen.

A couple of weeks ago, a 10-year-old girl was inspired by this and she has started to mobilise books from her friends so they can donate them to children in a rural school.

A young professional picked up on our campaign on social media and has been able to fundraise $300 to support our efforts to take books Karamoja, a very remote part of Uganda, near the border with South Sudan in the north and Kenya in the East.

With your help with we believe we are moving in the right direction to make a real difference in the lives of many children like Ivan and Sam. We need to continue getting as many books out to children as possible. With just $3 as many as 15 children get a chance to read a book.

Kindly consider sharing this with your family and friends to join in and make a difference here. You too can consider making a recurring donation to enable as many children as possible to get books. 

Links:

 
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