At the end of a long dirt road, towards the hills, children dressed in faintly dark-brown and chequered coloured uniforms sang a beautiful song, welcoming Blessing Bassey Archibong, the Executive Director of our volunteer implementing partner, Blessing Bassey Foundation, and her team while their proud teachers looked on.
The children are the pupils of L.E.A Primary School Alungu-Lungu, located in the outskirts of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. The headteacher, Mr Moses welcomed Blessing and her team and led them into a classroom filled with children giggling with one another while being camera shy. L.E.A Primary School Alungu-Lungu, is one of the several underserved public primary schools across Nigeria suffering from a lack of basic amenities that enables a school to function effectively. Mr Moses mentioned some of the challenges the school has been facing like lack of access to clean water, materials for teaching and learning, furniture and toilets.
Our volunteer implementing partner, The Blessing Bassey Foundation, chose L.E.A Primary School Alungu-Lungu as one of the beneficiary schools of the KIR Foundation 10th Anniversary Book Drive Campaign because the school lacks a Reading Corner or a library. Therefore, KIR Foundation established a Reading Corner in the school by donating a bookshelf with over 187 books to the school.
10-year-old Gideon, the head boy of the school and his peers paid rapt attention as members of the Blessing Bassey Foundation team read from the book,‘The greedy tortoise and other stories’, a compilation of African Folktales. Thereafter, the team asked the pupils the moral lessons they had learnt from the book. While some of Gideon’s classmates were eager to share what they learnt, others were shy to come forward. However, Gideon boldly stood up to read a page from the book. He was rewarded with a storybook and excitedly let out a very loud thank you with a military salute, because it was his first personal storybook and ran off to show his friends his new storybook.
Also, Nancy, an 8-year-old girl in primary four, shared with the team that she had learnt from the book the importance of being honest and keeping your word. She was also given a storybook and this encouraged her other schoolmates to answer questions with the hope of getting their own personal storybooks.
Some of the students shared with the team that they had never read a storybook before and promised to visit the Reading Corner to read during their break time. The quality of an educational system cannot rise above the quality of materials accessible to the learners. The future of every nation depends on its children, therefore the quality of education the children receive will determine the development of the nation.
Therefore, KIR Foundation is determined to improve the quality of education in our public primary schools by giving underserved children access to relevant information through the books that we donate because we believe that our children are our future.