Sep 4, 2019

Books make an Impact

In 2018, we launched a Book Giving campaign and got a lot of support from you, getting books to children. We took that first batch of 300 books to Kaabong District in Karamoja sub-region. It's a place that not many people have been to. It takes almost 10 hours to get there, and over 600-kilometres from Kampala - the capital on the bumpiest road you will ever know.

According to Schooling Uganda, Kaabong has about 53 primary schools and its population has been estimated at over 1.2 million people. Statistics from the Uganda National Examination Board show that only 5.7 per cent of children who did Primary Leaving Examinations in 2016 got first-grade results.

The goal of the Book Giving Campaign was to provide reading material to the children and to read with them so that they understand that reading regularly is both fun and essential, it could transform their learning experience. Stephen Krashen the author of The Modern Language Journal provides evidence to support this claim, "The best hypothesis is that competence in spelling and vocabulary is most efficiently attained by comprehensive input in the form of reading."

So when we got to Kaabong, we went to Kalongor Primary School and Komukuny Girls Primary School and spent the day reading with children in both schools. Teachers confirmed that there was a desire to read but the children lacked the materials. The reading activity was very engaging for the children. "It made them love books and reading. They will continue reading, gain the confidence to stay in school and pass their exams." Fardosa Ahmed commented.

We went back to Kaabong this year to conduct a Spelling Competition for the 3rd year. The highlight of the day was that the team from Kalongor Primary School spelt all their words correctly and won! They were ecstatic as they fist-pumped among themselves and celebrated their excellent teamwork. Last year their team was eliminated early in the competition.

Their teachers Loduk Phillips and Chiyo Dominic Savio said that they went back determined after the enjuba teacher training and trained the children. Kalongor Primary School has a total of 1009 children. The Observer ranked the school number 6601 out of 12700 schools in a 2017 Primary Leaving Examinations Ranking.

Teacher Loduk Phillips is currently studying a bachelor's degree in English and Social Studies from St. Lawrence University. He said, “This year we did things a little differently, the children have been reading and we encouraged them to write articles and present them at the school assembly. We also got the children to read in church more often to gain confidence."

"Kalongor Primary school is from the remote rural area but we won some town schools so the district is shocked." He continued. He is positive that they will excel at the National Spelling Bee on 12th October 2019 at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

 

Jun 5, 2019

Making Reading Fun, one book at a time.

Crash Boom Splash and laughterit’s the sound of happy children playing together. But for a group of school children in Luuka district about 130km from Kampala, it was not at the usual swamp on their way home, Crash Boom Splash is the title of the book that they read in their classrooms at Budondo Primary School on during one of our reading activities. In the weeks leading up to this years’ National Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day, enjuba ran a book-giving campaign for school children in Luuka. This was to ensure that they had new beautifully illustrated books to read during the National DEAR Day activities. Luuka was reported one of the worst performing districts in Eastern Uganda at Primary Leaving Examination level in 2018.

enjuba together with the Ministry of Education, Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA), Peace Corps, and Mixakids work with schools and organizations across the country to create awareness about the importance of acquiring literacy skills like reading, spelling, and comprehension. By getting all Ugandans to drop everything and read and promoting a lifestyle of reading, especially among the younger generation, we expect to see an improvement in learning outcomes as they grow to love reading beyond preparation for exams.

This year’s DEAR day was certainly not business as usual, nor was it a repeat of last year. We all went the extra mile; KCCA resolved that one day just wasn’t enough, they had a whole week of group reading, buddy reading, and other reading activities for the schools in their jurisdiction. While the Country Director of Peace Corps Uganda joined the pupils of MM Wanyange Girls School to read, enjuba went ahead to collect and deliver books to Budondo Primary School in Luuka. It warmed my heart to see many people from all walks of life eagerly give ten thousand shillings and more, to ensure that a child who would not be able to afford a book got one.

On that bright Friday morning, we read Crash Boom Splash with children in Primary four and much to our surprise, they had no idea what those words meant! When we explained the meaning to them, they gasped and smiled knowingly, they were excited because they had learned one more way to describe their playtime; a situation they were very familiar with.

For a long time, playtime in Uganda was limited to dodgeball and jumping rope. Not anymore, the tide is changing as we embark on programs to transform the mindset of the majority of Ugandans and improve our reading culture. Reading intersects learning and fun at the same time, and the DEAR Day campaign has championed this initiative.

From the same book, the children learned that in order to be smart and wise, they must learn a new word every day. One thing is for sure regardless of who or where you are, attractive books with beautiful stories have the ability to transport you along with them to any place at any time. So, this year children at Budondo Primary School and many others across the country dropped everything to read, have you read today? Are you encouraging your children to read? It is a skill they will use and thank you forever.

 

Dec 10, 2018

It is working!

Celebrating a Spelling Bee win
Celebrating a Spelling Bee win

On 24th November 2018, Ugandan children who have participated in our programs once again participated in the African Spelling Bee, a continental spelling competition that brought together 120 people from 12 different countries to compete, and determine the African Spelling Bee Champion. Our children did us proud and one of them emerged second in the competition. This is a testament to the importance of reading.

This was a build on a successful National Spelling Bee, that saw millions of children participate in the competition all the way from their classrooms in June. 

Over the years we have focused on creating fun platforms that make learning fun and make children want to become the best they can ever be. We are now seeing this happening, year after year.  It is working. Thank you for your continued support.

In the past 3 months, we have also distributed over 3,000 books, thanks to your generosity of gifting books, to children in the 3 of the biggest refugee settlement camps of Kyangwali, Kiryandongo, and Kyakali in Uganda. These books have brought a lot of excitement and hope to these children, whose future seems bleak in many ways. One of the officials in Kyakali camp had this to say to one of our team members who delivered the books there,

"You are a blessing to us, to your generation. I tell you, Organizations have gathered in this camp, they have thought about helping in relief supply, health, and education but none has ever thought that amazing storybooks, would be good to support learners, learn through enjoyment, fighting the gun trauma that displaced them."

We are increasingly seeing how one book can make a difference in the lives of several children, as they get to read it together and how a simple story can inspire unimaginable action and leave a mark on the lives of these children even as they grow up. We know today, that when children fall in love with books and learn to read, they will be motivated to stay in school longer, and will go on to challenge themselves and seek to become the best they can ever be.

Your continued support and generosity makes this possible. As we come to the end of this year, we kindly request that you proudly share these stories with your friends and family and in your own way, ask them to support gift many more children with books that will transform their lives. 

Thank you

 
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