Once a week around a hundred children sit and read quietly a book that interest them in the spacious room of the Institut Français in Goma, capital of the province of North Kivu. Every wednesday the session begins with a silent reading after which a children report his book’s content. Other children criticize the report and ask questions about it. An educational temper the session in order to allow more children to talk.
Aisha, who is nine years old is a pupil in 5th year of primary school; she comes very often to the library and is very happy to have the opportunity to improve her knowledge of the French language, she said: “I like to study, coming here is like going to school and it really interest me. I learn to conjugate and to read properly.” Aisha learns a lot more than just conjugation and spelling.
She also learns new words. “Before I didn’t know what was the definition of an hostile world for children, but by reading the story of Elikya who had to live in the streets because he was dismissed by his step mother I learned what it was.”, she declared. She goes as far to say that she would be boring if she couldn’t go to the library to read books.
Reduce distance between pupils and books
Thanks to a partnership between UNICEF and the Institut Français of Goma that little Aisha had the chance to improve her learning of the French language. Formerly the library access was charged but today he is free to reinforce the skills in reading of the primary school’s children. This partnership aim to support Government in the implementation of the curricular reform. Indeed, most of North Kivu schools have no library and pupils don’t have the opportunity to access books at their level of knowledge. Matthias Assani who is the coordinator of the Francophone space admitted that: “The support of UNICEF let us, through our initiative of a mobile library, to go out with books to meet pupils who like to read.”
Through the mobile library children who participate to the reading activities improved their school results a lot. The library went to meet children in the further territories of the province. A lot of vulnerable children had held in their hands a book for the first time. The coordinator of the Francophone space thinks that it’s difficult to protect a children or to have him participate if he doesn’t know his rights; so he concludes by saying: “Reading become a tool to the protection, the participation and to the intellectual fulfillment of the child.”
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