Article by Sharon Kantengwa – Article from The New Times, Rwanda
Children have been encouraged to read and write more stories as a way of promoting literacy, preserving the oral and cultural traditions, and grooming them into potential leaders.
This was during the launch of the first Rwandan edition of African Children’s Stories which took place on Friday at the Kigali Public Library.
The programme that was initiated by Imagine We in partnership with Ducere Foundation (Australia), started with a competition dubbed “Kagire Inkuru”. The competition that saw eight schools participate, was a seven-day challenge that started on August 16, where children were told to ask their parents traditional tales and write them down or alternatively compose their own stories of interest.
Di Fleming, the executive director of Ducere Foundation (Australia) believes children’s literacy is important for preserving the country’s oral traditions in the fast-developing country.
“Ducere’s agenda is to encourage children to read and write their own stories and also listen to stories from their parents. The stories we encourage them to write are from their own imagination, life’s experience and those from the old tradition to preserve the old tradition of society. When students are comfortable and confident, they can become leaders,” she added.
Dominique Alonga Uwase, the director for Imagine We, is optimistic that the programme would help the children’s stories be heard all over Africa and beyond.
“I dream of a Rwanda where children can speak, read, write and be creative, but where they can also be heard. This is the first step for these children to be heard. I know that we will soon be having 100 collections and we will be celebrating.” Dominique said.
According to Uwase, out of the 438 children that participated in the competition, only the best eight had their stories published in the new book.
Ecole La Colombiere emerged winners of the competition for being the best school in supporting reading and writing, where 200 students were encouraged to write stories in seven days. It was awarded a certificate of excellence as well as 150 books and 45 copies of the new book published.
Other schools that participated include,Kigali Junior Academy, L’horizon, Kigali Harvest school, EPAK Don Bosc, Kacyiru Primary 1, Green Hills Academy, Ecole Primare SOS. Each school was given 45 copies of the book.