Cherish, an 11-year-old hearing-impaired in primary 4 of Therapeutic Inclusive Nursery/Primary School, was so excited when she heard her school was going to get a total of 135 storybooks from Keeping It Real Foundation. Although her school had a mini library, the library didn’t have storybooks and was filled with old and outdated storybooks. Cherish and her classmates would have loved to read storybooks but her parent could not afford to buy them.
When the Keeping It Real Foundation (KIR) Ambassador and Volunteer Divine Favour visited the school on February 10th2021 to set up a reading corner, Cherish and her friends eagerly looked forward to having access to the books. During the event, the KIR Foundation Ambassador told Cherish and her classmates that 5 pupils who actively participate in the reading session would be given storybooks. Cherish was determined to be one of them. Thus, when Divine Favour, an Alumni of the school and the KIR Foundation Ambassador asked for the pupils to volunteer to read, Cherish although hearing impaired, confidently stepped forward. However, she had difficulty in reading the story `The King’s New Cloth’. When Cherish could not read the story, eight-year-old Ebenezar, a primary three student read the story fluently and was rewarded with the book ‘The King’s New Cloth and other Stories’. Thereafter, 9-year-old Rejoice, one of Cherish’s classmate was given her first storybook `Elaine and The Flying Frog’ for answering the questions that were asked by the KIR Foundation Ambassador correctly.
Though Cherish was not rewarded with any story book for her attempt at reading, she was given the privilege of giving the Vote of Thanks on behalf of her school for the 155 books (135 storybooks and 20 textbooks) donated to the school library. Also, the Head Teacher of the school Mrs Gift Nwaluka thanked KIR Foundation for improving the quality of education for 301 students in the school.
KIR Foundation through the 10thAnniversary Book Drive Campaign is consciously stimulating a culture of reading among primary school pupils because an early reading culture fosters lifelong learning and enables children to grow into creative adults. Studies indicate that about 40% of Nigerian adults have never completed reading a fictional book after formal education. Further research also revealed that 30 million Nigerian Secondary School leavers have poor reading skills, while an average Nigerian reads less than one book per year. These findings are quite alarming because we are leaving in a knowledge-based economy where the development and prosperity of any nation is based on the quality of education in the country.
KIR Foundation recognizes that reading is a basic tool for personal and National Development. However, there is a dearth of library and reading corners in our public schools. That is why since 2011 KIR Foundation has been promoting a culture of reading by donating books to our underserved beneficiaries like Cherish, Rejoice and Ebenezer who want to read but do not have access to books.