Immersed in reading

Books filling young minds in lockdown

2nd July 2020 | Blog

Jane is Head Teacher at Simotwo Primary School in remote, rural Kenya. Her school is currently closed because of Covid-19 and her pupils are at home.

If it weren’t for the books you have helped to send to her school, her pupils would have very little to read or to help them continue learning while they are out of school.

Here, Jane tells us more:

Jane
Jane

“[The school closing] has been a very great loss. This community is remote. The nearby town is about 15km. So the place where the children see new things is only in school – nowhere else, unless they travel.

And now the children are just at home, helping their parents who are farmers.

Farming
Many pupils are now helping their parents in the fields

When this pandemic broke we were unprepared. It was the beginning of the school year and we had planned for so many good things and the children were busy in the libraries in town.

Rumuruti library
Before lockdown, pupils were busy reading in the local library and at school

But everything stopped and we hadn’t prepared the children unlike when they go on their holidays.

So immediately when the school was closed, I gave a lot of books for the children to read at home. A great number of books are from Book Aid International.

I gave a lot of books for the children to read at home. A great number of books are from Book Aid International.

And we are still operating the school library but the children cannot come all of them together, because of the social distancing. They come bit by bit and they go home with a new book.

Taking a book home
Children can still visit the school library to choose a new book to read at home

So the good thing is that we know that there are a lot of children in homes who are reading those books. Not only the child who has picked the books, but even their brothers and sisters from other schools who are at home.

If they didn’t have a book at home, when it comes to the examination or any other assessment, you find that they don’t have the knowledge.

But one of the challenges is that because most of our parents are not educated, they are not able to assist the children properly now that they are at home. Actually, [the parents] are very much worried. They have seen the importance of the school and they rely on the teachers but the teachers are not there anymore.

Now the books are the only ones with the children. The teachers are not there, the assessments are not there, but the books are with the children at home.

And the good thing is that the children can read the books anywhere.

Sometimes you see them travelling and they each have a book in their pocket. When they go to graze the animals, they have a book. When they are eating at home, under the tree, they have a book. It is a good sign.

Children are reading the books they borrow wherever they go

This means when they come back to school, they will not be empty because they have been keeping their minds busy with the books.

When they start doing their school work, it will be nice for the children because they will know it is something they have been doing at home – having books at home now will make them be used to reading and learning.

So they will be a bit brave when they come back to school and they will not be empty.”

 

*The photos used in this blog were taken before lockdown.

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