Any platform where many people converge should be used to rally for the development of the reading culture. The Minister of Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu has said.
The minister was speaking on Sunday after the Kigali Car Free Day, a mass sport gathering that is held in the capital once every month.
“We have a big number of children turning up for sports and on the other side we have book exhibition around the venue where children can read different books. Platforms like this [Car free day] should be an opportunity to mobilize people to adopt the reading culture,” said the Minister.
“This is the only way we can realize the knowledge-based economy we are striving for. Parents should encourage children to read and make a book one of the child’s priorities. Let’s start it in our families, then in schools. Bringing books to different public places like this [Car Free Day] can boost reading culture among the young generation and can influence them to keep reading wherever they are.”
While vouching for more libraries around the country which communities can access, Uwacu further urged publishers to avail books that attract interest across generations, from the young to the old, and ensure they are of good quality and creatively done.
By promoting reading culture in Rwandan society, the Ministry of Sports and Culture and Arise Education, in partnership with Mureke Dusome, launched Gira igitabo aho uri campaign in November.
The campaign, which will run for one year until November 2018, seeks to mobilize the community, leaders, private sector, employers and employees to recognize the importance of books, especially those based on culture, as a source of information, a platform for excellence in academics and career, and a pleasurable activity.
Mutesi Gasana, the Managing Director of Arise Education, a publishing house behind the campaign, encouraged parents to buy plenty of books for their children to help them excel in their academic endeavors.
She said, “If you, a parent, can buy a chocolate worth Rwf5000 for your child, why can’t you afford to buy him or her a book to read, first? People, in general should change their way of understanding and look for a better future for their children,” she said.
Alex Alubisia, the Chief of Party of Mureke Dusome, said the initiative will play a big role in influencing people to embrace the culture of reading in their everyday lives.
“For the last five years the culture of reading in Rwanda has been growing unlike in the past, thanks to the project. We have been mobilizing young people to encourage the culture of reading among the young from different parts of the country, setting up reading clubs especially in school communities to make sure the programme succeeds. We expect to go a long way in promoting such culture in Rwanda,” he said.
Close to 1000 reading clubs have been set up through the project to further foster the reading culture in rural communities while, by September this year, 2500 more reading clubs will have been added to cove at least every school community
Laurien Mucyo, 15, who is joining senior one at College de Gisenyi, in Rubavu District hailed the programme saying it would boost the reading culture among the community, encouraging other children to adopt reading as a hobby.