How a varsity student is improving literacy among the youth

Bertin Ganza Kanamugire, is a student at the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences pursuing a bachelors degree in Business Administration.

In December last year, he founded Afflatus Africa an organisation that aims at helping African Youth to explore their potential, through various projects like ‘Willing is winning’, a project which is aimed to eradicate youth unemployment caused by lack of experience.

He has other projects like ‘Live your dreams,’ a mentorship and career guidance program, ‘Inspired to inspire’, which is aimed at providing a platform that helps the elderly to impact the community by sharing their stories, and Reading for change.

The 25- year- old, had a chat with Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa on the impact of Reading for Change on children’s literacy.

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How did the idea of Reading for Change come about?

The idea of Reading for Change came as a way of disabusing the mindset that Africans don’t read. It is often said that if you want to hide anything from an African put it in a book.

This of course, is not true, although we still have to develop the culture and habit of reading, but also write our own stories.

What exactly does Reading for Change do to achieve this?

Reading for Change is a project for promoting the reading and writing culture through establishing and facilitating reading clubs in schools, giving subscription to children to help them access books and encourage parents to do it too.

We also organise Reading for Change monthly events. The event contains a series of books reviews, panel discussions, storytelling and networking events that bring together authors, publishers, librarians, publishers and book lovers.

What impact has these events had on the kids so far?

The impact is that kids have been encouraged to read more and it has in turn helped them gain a lot of knowledge and wisdom. We believe that the more they read, the more they can develop a culture of writing.

They say wisdom is power and so reading is important to fight ignorance in the young generation because not every information can be gained through learning in class only. 

We believe that this project is also helping to shape good future leaders because as the saying goes “readers are leaders”.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

The challenge is that we have not yet managed to reach all parts of the country. Our financial capacity is very low to make the event better, reach many people in different areas and pursue other ideas related to the project.

How do you envisage the reading culture of Rwandan children in future?

Reading is growing and we hope it will be a Rwandan habit to read a book regularly.

With Reading for Change, we believe that the culture of reading is promising and we believe in the saying that; “If you want to hide something from Africans put it down in a book” will be irrelevant in Rwanda because we are aiming at promoting a reading culture from a young age.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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