Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Two events, lots of smiles in Kampala, Uganda this week as Assist Community Initiatives (ACI) commemorated the 10th anniversary of the World Read Aloud Day.
The aim of the celebration was to promote literacy, the reading culture among children and advocate for reading as a right for all children.
The first event was held at the Uganda Cancer Institute for children who are battling cancer and are unable to attend school or even access reading books.
The colorful event Tuesday was organized in collaboration with the Uganda Childhood Cancer Foundation’s 3C Club (Children Caring for Cancer) who provided volunteers that mobilized the children and the European Union in Uganda who shared their Tesa and Luuka comic book with the children.
The readings were done by both the children from the ward and representatives from the delegation. The message of the event was very clear; no child should be left behind.
At Tuesday’s event at the Cancer Institute, Emmanule Gyezaho, the Press Advisor at the EU Delegation said children’s rights remain a top priority of the European Union and its Member States in Uganda.
“We are delighted to be here today to celebrate with these brave children,” he said, adding: “2019 is a very special year as it marks the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Through our comic books, we are promoting literacy as well as raise social consciousness for the protection of the rights of children.”
The second event was held at the Soo Many Stories Children’s library in Bugolobi. This event was organized to involve other children.
The children were divided into two groups, with the older children reading and discussing the different themes in Tesa and Luuka’s trip to Rwenzori while the younger children listened to Siba and Siba – a story written for children by a local author.
While the children were in their groups reading, the mothers came together to form the Moms4Literacy club to discuss relating to the reading culture among children. They unanimously agreed that most children lack access to reading books and resolved to fundraise towards a mobile library with books that would go on a national tour to allow the children in rural areas to access books.
“As we celebrate this World Read Aloud Day 2019, let us continue to advocate for children’s rights which include access to education in all forms. Happy World Read Aloud Day,” said Stella Ahaabwa from the organisers Assist Community Initiatives (ACI)
The World Read Aloud Day was created by LitWorld who aim to strengthen communities using their own story.
ACI Uganda chose the European Union’s Tesa and Luuka’s comic book because it’s relatable with their target audience who are Ugandan children that are susceptible to the challenge addressed in the book.
Some of the issues raised in the comic include child labor and child sacrifice which have affected many children in Uganda. The comic takes a stand against these issues in a fun way to allow for the message to stick in the children’s minds.
Who are ACI?
Assist Community Initiatives (ACI) Uganda is an NGO established with the sole drive of supporting purposeful development in Uganda. ACI operateS in over 6 districts in rural Uganda (Masindi, Mpigi, Mukono, Wakis
ACI focusses on five thematic areas: Economic empowerment through microfinance and training, education through child sponsorship and promotion of literacy, health networks and youth empowerment through capacity building and finally climate change.
ACI’s Ahaabwa said that while the school is an important place for children’s education, families and communities play an equally critical role in the development of their children.
“To prepare our children for the future, we need to provide them with the opportunities to develop the generic skills that are needed for them to become life long learners,” she said, adding that “Apart from knowledge, our children need to develop their skills to acquire, construct and communicate knowledge. They should also be able to collaborate with others, be ready to listen and be creative in their thinking.”