Listening to Nana Aba Anamoah on the Citi Breakfast Show on that fateful Wednesday morning, I had no other alternative than to share the statement she made on facebook for the whole world to get the profound sense therein.
She said “Children who read become adults that think.” A poignant and a solid statement.
The profundity of it is entrenched more by the despicable situation we find ourselves in now as a nation where thought is sunk into the catacombs, creativity stifled, and innovation absent, mediocrity shrouded in joviality glorified to the point of worship. The commonest statement now is “Ghanaians play too much.” And indeed we play too much. Pathetic!
And those who try to be outstanding by questioning the status quo are scoffed at and marked as subjects of ridicule. One does not have to go far. Just sit behind the television and watch the advertisements that are churned out. And if what the proponents of Business Ethics say is anything to go by (that advertisements mirror the society), then we have a shallow-minded, creativity-bereft and innovation-deficient country. We have lost our sense of seriousness as a nation.
Our standards are low and just an exceedingly few of the citizenry stand out; per our own standard. We have given flesh to the lamentations of Chinua Achebe when he stated that “we have displayed a consistent inclination since we assumed management of our own affairs to opt for mediocrity and compromise, to pick a third and fourth eleven to play for us. And the result: we have always failed and will always fail to make it to the world league.”
Part of the solution lies in resting the future for our children. We cannot not allow our children to grow up and become victims of these criticisms. We must prop them up to compete in the global village that the world has become such that a child born in Estonia competes with a child born in California. The least we could do is to instill in the children, the heightened sense of reading. “Children that read become adults that think.” Remember?
Few years ago at the Ghana Association of Writers Book Festival (GAWBOFEST 2016), the Renowned Ghanaian poet, cultural-Activist and Academic, Atukwei Okai, underscored the need why we need to instill and promote the reading culture in the upcoming ones.
He explained the fact that a people without a viable succession are doomed and their story will forever remain on the shelves of history catching dust.
He underscored the need to imbibe in our children the honored life of reading. This he stated will give the child a better future. “And what we need to understand in this country is that the future of a child is the future of the country.” And this is the number one factor why we must support an initiative such as the ReadCamp.
READCAMP is a two-week long literacy activity initiated by Mother of All-Nations Foundation in 2015 to imbue in the children, the honored life of reading, instill in them the noble task of writing, impart the much-cherished quality of having sound understanding, nourish their brains and most importantly give them wings to fly. The program is loaded in the sense that it involves the teaching of literacy (reading and writing) as well as basic Internet surfing, tutorials for research purpose enabling each participant to be well equipped to live in this world that has technology growing at a break-neck speed.
In order to have maximum time for the inculcation of the reading habit in the young ones, participants are camped for about two weeks and the cost of their entire duration of study including accommodation, feeding and tutorials catered for by the foundation. This year’s will be held from 10th August to 27th August, 2021.
The programme which is targeted at pupils in the Upper primary and Junior High schools has a mentoring and training session where the influential individuals in the community come around to invigorate the children to study hard. The teaching and help normally come from the Tertiary students on vacation who volunteer to help build the community.
The Project Director of this worthy cause, Zico AbubakarIshaq Newton Stated that “ reading across the globe is a necessary factor in laying a sound foundation for further learning in diverse fields of the academic ladder.
In Africa, reading has been a major bane in various communities. Many pupils attend school but find it very difficult to read and understand. Research has shown that, reading naturally enhances teaching and facilitates learning process at the lower levels of learning in schools.
This confirms the fact that reading changes people’s lives, increases understanding in various ways, enhances access to information and improves writing skills among many. It is on this basisthat Mother of All Nations Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organization, is leading the way in curing this canker by helping the young people irrespective of their educational background to embrace reading and writing from the lower level through the initiative dubbed READ CAMP.”
He also stated the rate at which children drop out of school due to financial constraints is becoming alarming. However, that factor stands insignificant compared to the overwhelming contributing factor to the large number of school dropouts in the deprived communities; the ability to read and understand. That is what inspired this wonderful idea of his.
He also added that for almost ten years, the West African Examination Council report cited poor basic grammatical errors in written work as the number one reason for massive failures in the final exams. This even happens in the well-to-do communities. For the deprived communities, what else do you expect? Our elders say “If green leaves are burning, how much more dried ones.” It has become a part of their system.
On the other hand, I got really shocked when I enquired about the source of funding for this. And I found out that the project solely relies on benevolent individuals, groups and or organizations for donations in cash and or in kind due to the fact that the children are fed during the stay.
When the project started in 2015, it had an overwhelming 150 participants although 40 people were budgeted for. In 2016, the number shot up to 300. Over the years, over 500 participants have benefited from the program from Madina and its environs.
Now that is where we should not fail our children. This cause needs our support as a people. These are the causes charity organizations and philanthropists should channel their resources more to build our young ones to do fascinating things in their lives. These are the people more deserving of help to create that window of opportunity to share positive values with our children. We need to help our children to cultivate their inner leaders by exposing them to great inspirational models. We must support this cause to make our children have a mind of their own such that they become masters of the world and not slaves of others’ minds.
The children do not need a grand building from you. They do not need an aeroplane or a huge contribution. “Give a little. Even a needle. Just make it trickle. I’m talking to you Mr. Fortunate one” as one musician sang.
Let’s all help build a viable community and a nation at large. And that’s the best we can do.
In the book Everyday Greatness, author Stephen R. Covey wrote:
“Sometimes people mistakenly think that finding meaning in life requires making a huge contribution that impacts millions. But often the most meaningful and lasting contributions or acts of charity are those that occur in small, one-on-one ways when attention is given to a solitary individual. In fact when I ask audiences to identify a person who has been greatly influential in their life, typically they do not respond with a person who performed some great act of courage or excelled in a particular talent. Rather they describe people who took time out of their busy schedules to focus their attention on them as individuals- to make them feel important by including them in their life, if only for a moment.”
Consider these children as those individuals and focus your attention on them by giving the little you have. Support a worthy cause “Because if you have an opportunity to uplift even a single life, your week or your month or your decade has been worth it.” Dear Reader.
NB: The Writer is a Youth-Activist and a Student of Knowledge
Contact to help:
Zico Abubakar Ishaq Newton
Development Practitioner and Community Organizer