The Minister for Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu, has urged parents to include books among gifts they prepare for their children during the forthcoming festive season to ensure they have enough material to read.
Uwacu said this during the launch of ‘Gira Igitabo Aho Uri’ (have a reading book everywhere), a campaign that mainly targets schoolgoing children.
Among the strategies to be adopted to ensure more people are reached out to in the mass reading campaign include availing books on commuter buses.
Launched in Kigali, the campaign was organised by the Ministry of Sports and Culture, Ministry of Education and Save the Children, among other stakeholders.
Speaking at the event, Isaac Munyakazi, the minister of state for primary and secondary education, said reading should not be a habit for just children but everyone as it positively impacts life.
“Reading is a source of information, a platform for excellence in academics and career, and positively affects life outcomes of citizens and the nation. I call upon everyone, especially students to read outside classroom and develop passion for reading,” he said.
Munyakazi called Rwandans to write more Kinyarwanda books to boost diversity of reading material available in the national language, adding that no Rwandan should be locked out because of language barriers.
At the launch, young writers were also represented and given opportunity to talk about their publications.
Brian Cyusa, 7, is the author of a story book titled, “Ntibavuga: Bavuga,” which teaches Rwandans correct Kinyarwanda terminologies and dialects.
For him, books are sources of power and intelligence.
“During this campaign, I want to write more books as my contribution to increasing the number of Kinyarwanda reading materials for children of my age. I will be also encourage my friends and other children to love reading and writing as well,” he said.
On behalf of development partners, the Chief of Party of Save the Children’s ‘Mureke Dusome’ project that is funded by USAID, Alex Alubisia, said that through the project, they’re helping Rwandan authors perfect and publish their amazing children’s stories in Kinyarwanda.
“Today is another step promoting both reading culture and local publishers of younger age appropriate Kinyarwanda story books to improve literacy for children. We will foster partnerships between schools and broader community to increasing effective community and parental involvement to improv literacy skills,” he said.
Alubisia said that by fostering reading culture, the outcomes will be visible in equitable improved completion, transition, reduced drop-out repetition in basic education.
According to stakeholders, during the Gira Igitabo Aho Uri campaign, all districts will be reached with mobile libraries while also creating reading corners equipped with literate for all ages in Kinyarwanda and other other languages .
Parents and community in general will be encouraged to buy books as well.