By Elias Hakizimana.
Olive Nisingizwe, the mother of two from Murambi sector in Rulindo District has been wondering how her child of primary can improve on his reading due to lack of reading materials.
Her child is now in the second year of primary 2 and gained knowledge from USAID’s learning and reading storytelling books that raised his level of reading Kinyarwanda stories.
“He is now reading very well different stories and poems without fear. When he comes from school, I ask him to show me what they have learnt and I tell him to read, and when he fails I correct him,” Nisingizwe said.
Solange Niragire from Masoro sector in this District also reiterated that her child made a significant step in reading since he gained support from these programmes.
The parents were speaking to the media on February 21, 2019 during the celebration of international Mother Language Day in Rulindo District.
The global theme of this day was “Indigenous languages matter for development, peace building and reconciliation,” while the national theme is “Tunoze Ikinyarwanda mu mivugire no mu myandikire” which means “Let’s perfect the Kinyarwanda language in speaking and in writing.”
USAID Soma Umenye and Mureke Dusome celebrated this day by encouraging teachers and parents to make time for children to read at school, in the community and at home.
U.S. Ambassador Peter Vrooman commended Rwanda’s efforts in investing in education by nurturing younger generation with basic skills and promote quality education that is built on the mother tongue.
“Education is a key tool to development to every individual and every country, each country needs to make that investment, so, I saw today that that Rwandans are making that investment at community level, at the district level, regional level and international level.
He said that it is something very important to do this in schools and at home as having parents and teachers help children learn is credible.
“Kinyarwanda is the national language that all children learn when they grow up, and I think in my understanding that when you learn in your mother tongue, reading becomes much better. When you are able to read and writer Kinyarwanda, learning French, English and other languages is much easier,” Ambassador noted.
He also appreciated the contribution of USAID-Soma Umenye “read and know” and USAID-‘Mureke Dusome’ “Let’s Read” to support communities to establish reading clubs and encourage children to explore storybooks for pleasure as well as for learning.
Rose Baguma, Director General of Education Policy & Planning in the Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) said that the USAID’s learning and teaching storytelling programmes are very vital to increasing children capacity of reading and writing in their mother language.
“These books help us in helping children to read from primary one, the government of Rwanda is making emphasis in early primary schools to help children grow up with good skills in reading and writing.
The event featured a visit to the Shengampuri Community Reading Club, supported by the USAID Mureke Dusome project, and an observation of a P1 classroom at EP Shengampuri supplied with a new classroom library by the USAID Soma Umenye project.
The P1 classroom library now provides 65 textbooks and story books for P1 students to practice their reading.
USAID supported classroom libraries are being installed every single P1, P2 and P3 classroom across Rwanda in 2019—adding a total of 7 million new schoolbooks to Rwandan schools.
The project is implemented nationwide by Save the Children in partnership with Umuhuza and Urunana DC.
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