This month we celebrate International Literacy Day!
If you’ve been keeping up with our latest blog posts, you know that our last blog was all about education. It’s an exciting time during late August and early September when schools open up again, new classes start, and everyone is back in high spirits and excited to learn. Therefore, its only appropriate that we share our thoughts on International Literacy Day, celebrated September 8th and is rightly timed to coincide with the first few weeks of the new school year.
International Literacy Day is a time that allows us all to reflect on the need for worldwide literacy opportunity. We have made great progress as a global family to help fight illiteracy, but as always, there is still more opportunity to grow. We believe that everyone has the right to have easy access to learn how to read and write, and our mission is to deliver just that – education and resources to help communities grow.
It is always heartwarming to see our main Library in Kumbo, Cameroon filled with eager children and adults looking to make use of all the books and programs our Library offers. At present, hundreds of children are coming in and out of our center every day and each are learning, growing, and reading!
Our head Librarian Yao loves his students’ eagerness as well. Yao runs HIC’s reading competitions, student round table discussions, spelling bees, examination motivation groups, studies, as well as arts and crafts. He loves, “monitoring, encouraging, and stimulating the student bodies to work on their studies and research skills,” and also loves watching his students learn and grow. He bears witness to the happiness expressed on their faces when they arrive, and their reluctance to leave at the end of the day.
One of Yao’s favorite moments was during one of his DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) Day events. Here is the story as he describes it:
“Fanhanatu is one amazing little girl that I never knew had passion for reading until DEAR DAY. After the DEAR DAY events, when the program was over, I asked everyone to go home. She when went home, kept her prizes, but returned back to the library, sat comfortably in the coaching chair, and selected a book. The most astonishing part was that she was quiet and concentrated like someone preparing for a degree. The next day, so many kids from her school flew in to the library. She is small and very aspiring, encouraging, active and creative. She showed me that day, that serious and great people can be spotted from birth, and you can watch them grow.
Beatrice (another student) came to me one day and said, ” you think you are always pushing us to stay excited about learning, but when we talk about it outside of the classroom, we know that by you actively telling us, every minute, to stop talking and read, that you are helping us learn more and helping us to pass our exams. Thank you, Mr. Yao.”
Celebrating International Literacy Day allows us to remember these stories and inspires us to continue our efforts. These children are the inspiration behind Yao’s work, and they can also be the inspiration behind a global movement. Imagine a world where illiteracy no longer exists.