Reading-for-change to boost writing, reading skills among youth

On Saturday, November 3 at Kigali Public Library, Kacyiru, Afflatus Africa organised a reading motivational event aimed at inspiring the youth to ‘read for change’.

A group of panellists moderated by Magnus Mazimpaka, a journalist in Rwanda, gave students tips on why reading daily is important and how they should do so effectively.


Patrick Buchana, Chief Executive Officer at AC Group Limited, encouraged the youth to read with a purpose. He said that a good way to start is to read one page a day. Read in the time that is convenient, he told them.


“Keep becoming better, and that will be effective when you learn to set some time off to read. Start with books that you like and summarise after reading. As you go forward, you will learn which career you want to focus on,” Buchana said.


He added that the more one reads, the more knowledge they will be equipped with.

Debora Ingabire Claire, the assistant chief executive officer at the Centre for Education Network (CEN), said that she started reading because she was interested in motivational stories.

She said that sometimes, what keeps one interested in reading is when the book has a subject that they can relate to. 

“It might be tricky to balance your other schedules like work, sports, and family with reading, especially if you are a busy person. Include the reading culture in your plan, make a timetable and respect it. It will become a habit,” she told students.

Do not only read what you like, because you will miss out on concepts in other books, Ingabire added.

Jackson Vugayabagabo, the in-country founder of Kepler and one of the panellists, said that his reading journey started when he realised that leading a team requires one to be informed. He read because he needed to get better decisions for different projects.

He advised the youth to share what they have read about with others as they might empower someone.

“If reading page by page is hard for you, try listening to the audio version of that book. You will still learn,” Vugayabagabo said.

Kibe Waringa, the country director of Access to Finance Rwanda, said that some of the techniques of reading are; having a book beside you and reading before going to bed. This might help one forget the day’s stress.

Other points that were emphasised were that reading improves self-esteem, develops personality, food for thought, makes one creative, develops writing talent, improves communication, and clears vision.

It was also said that books change one’s personality, entertain the mind, broaden the horizon, and also make you feel the world around you.

While addressing the audience, the guest speaker, Dele Oyekanmi, founder of Destiny Builders, advised the youth to have purpose, passion and talent.

He told them that in order to find themselves, they have to lose themselves first. The youth should do things that will leave a mark and impact on the world.

Oyekanmi encouraged the youth to meditate upon these questions. Who am I? Where am I from? What can I do? Where am I going? Why am I here? If they answer them, they will be able to know their purpose, destiny, potential, and source.

He told them to find energy to attract themselves to the things they want to do.

However, he warned against doubt as it steals dreams, and most importantly, to stop giving excuses and refuel their vision.

In an interview with Bertin Ganza Kanamugire, the CEO of Afflatus Africa, he explained that the idea of ‘reading for change’ started as a Facebook page. In April this year, it was launched officially and the youth responded to it positively and fast.

“We decided to pay subscription for 20 high school students per year at Kigali Public Library as a way of encouraging them to get access to books. This will increase their reading capability, thus impacting their lives. We are also planning to start coaching young people who are interested in writing,” he said.

Kanamugire added that the main purpose for ‘read for change’ is to change the mindset of those who just read for the sake of it, without a purpose.

We are using the older generation to inspire the young generation. At the beginning, there were 70 applicants but they are now over 255, Kanamugire said.

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