KIGALI - First Lady Jeannette Kagame yesterday joined children from several primary schools around Kigali to celebrate the International Reading Day, an event aimed at inculcating the culture of reading into the young children.
The event, which brought the First Lady together with 150 pupils aged between 6 and 12, was held under the theme; ‘Reading is FUNdamental’ and was orgarnised by Imbuto Foundation in collaboration with UNESCO.
Mrs Kagame is the Patron of Imbuto Foundation.
The day’s celebration brought together children in the above age group because, according to early childhood development experts, this is the most crucial stage to influence learning and overall development.
The day which coincides with the marking of the births and deaths of some well-known authors like Shakespeare aims at emphasising that reading as the foundation for life-long learning.
Mrs. Kagame assured the children that they can have fun through reading books just like they have fun from playing other games.
The First Lady called upon parents to also take the first initiative of reading because it is through seeing them do so that children pick interest.
“Helping children to like reading is not so difficult, parents only need at least 30 minutes everyday and read together with their children in order to inculcate into them the culture at an early stage,” she emphasized.
She also urged children and parents alike to make sure that a child gets to at least read one book a term.
Mrs. Kagame also promised to advocate for the setting up of public libraries in every district to increase accessibility of a variety of reading materials.
The Minister of Education, Dr. Charles Murigande, told the children that it was through reading that they would be able to solve problems facing them and their country.
“It is through reading that you can acquire knowledge that can help you to solve problems that come your way, because the more you read, the more you learn how people far away have dealt with similar problems,” said Murigande.
He added that people cannot write when they don’t read, which explains the little written materials in Rwanda.
The Minister told the children an inspirational story of Dr. Ben Carson who was able to become one of the greatest neurosurgeons the world has ever seen through reading hard when he was still young, urging them to emulate him.
Imbuto Foundation will in the near future conduct a reading competition amongst the children who participated in today’s event.