Nakuru Lib launch 

On Friday, 25th May 2018, our journey to get a book in every hand and get more Kenyan children reading took us to Milimani primary school, in Naivasha, where we launched a library in partnership with Nakuru County’s First Lady, H.E. Elizabeth Kinyanjui.

Nakuru becomes the 11th County in the country where the reading revolution team has set foot.

Nakuru launch

We have impacted over 200,000 children, in Nairobi, Kiambu, Meru, Laikipia, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Lamu, Murang’a, and Mombasa counties. Opening of our 140th library in Nakuru is part of Start A Library’s dream of rallying all stakeholders, individuals and county governments to advocate for libraries as a critical component of learning and to establish facilities in all schools across Kenya.

The launch was symbolic because of two key reasons. Firstly, it was the 1st library the reading revolution established in Nakuru County. Secondly, it was established and graced by the presence of the County’s First Lady, as she launched her initiative dubbed, “Learning for Life: Reading for Life, Writing for Life and Drama for Life”, a program that seeks to nurture a lifelong reading culture for pupils as it imparts; wisdom, creativity, critical thinking & imagination and enable to gain an understanding of our society and culture. The initiative encourages children to read widely and wildly for pleasure, gather information and unleash their full potential. Ultimately, the County’s First Lady’s program aims to nurture a good learning environment that will ensure excellent reading and writing skills and holistic development of the children, thus reinforcing concerted efforts to position Nakuru County as a creative hub.

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Milimani primary received 1,000 brand new storybooks courtesy of a donation from Storymoja publishers, a creative powerhouse committed to providing relevant, age appropriate and authentic African stories for children. The books will benefit over 3,000 children at the school. Storymoja’s reading revolutionary team will provide training for teachers in charge of the library on library management and bringing books to life. Teachers will also be trained on how to set up, run and sustain reading clubs in the schools. Training will also be provided for students who will serve as student librarians (Junior Reading Ambassadors) to assist the teacher in charge of the library and rally their peers to champion reading in the school. 100 children from the school were signed up to Storymoja’s National Reading Marathon, a competition that encourages children to read as many books as they can within one year and win amazing prizes.

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The County’s First Lady asked the excited children, “Would you like to meet Barack Obama?” “Yes!”, they all responded in unison.

“Read his books: The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father. You will surely meet him in

these books”, she said amidst laughter from the students. “We find people in books who are just like us. When we read books, we begin to ask ourselves some important questions. The ‘why’ and ‘what if’ questions. Books are powerful tools because they give us wisdom. Unlike food that gives us bloated stomachs when we eat too much, reading too much can only make us wiser. Books impart us with important life lessons. They transform us. We start to think about things we have never known before. Books ultimately change us”, she said.

Indeed, storybooks are powerful platforms that enable children to explore their dreams and open them to the world of unlimited possibilities. As the County’s First Lady put it, “You can literally travel the world in books. You can be in the library, yet you are in South Africa or on the moon. Read books!”

As the event came to close the First Lady reiterated the need to ensure inclusivity and equal opportunity for all children to have access to books. This is important in ensuring that no child is left behind. She reinforced the need to incorporate and integrate digital libraries combining visual, audio and other formats to promote equal access for all. We have taken on the challenge and are committed towards introducing e-books, audio and digital books in the effort to ensure access and sustainability of our library projects. She also encouraged the children to write their own stories, “If you have been reading books and you haven’t found an exciting and interesting story, take a pen and paper and write your own story. Now is your time to write your own story. Everyone loves a good story.”

Our partnership with the County’s First Lady’s “Learning for Life” initiative serves as the foundation for a reading revolution that will manifest through; collaboration with the County Government of Nakuru and likeminded visionaries; establish libraries across all the wards in Nakuru County and introduce reading promotion programs such as, creative writing contests, read aloud competitions, spelling bees challenge and reading marathons.

 

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