What is Day of the African Child?
June 16 is the International Day of the African Child, an opportunity to honour those who participated in the Soweto Uprising and advocate for every African child’s right to receive a quality education.
In 1976, thousands of Black students in Soweto, South Africa marched for the right to a good education. However, they were met with violence. Since 1991, people around the world remember their sacrifice on June 16th of every year.
Learn more about Day of the African Child in our explainer video.
Double the reading, double the fun!
Nakato (in pink) and Wasswa in Uganda are 9-year-old twin siblings who love learning every day at school. Thanks to support from CFTC donors, they’re part of an exciting new activity - a community reading club!
During the COVID lockdowns, their mother Gertrude worried that they were falling behind at school. Uganda’s lockdowns were some of the longest in the world, and the children lost their motivation to keep studying at home. By the time school started again, they had lost some of their confidence in school.
The reading club changed everything. With the support of teachers like Grace, children had an opportunity to continue learning in engaging ways. She recalls fondly how they read various materials and used techniques like singing, dancing, and roleplay to make reading as fun as possible. And based on the results she saw, it was well worth it.
Grace: “There has been a great improvement. We have children now who can read better than they were able to before the country was locked down.”
Children like Nakato and Wasswa are now reading for fun at home, their grades are improving, and they have a new sense of pride in their skills. Proud mom Gertrude says:
“I can see that my children’s self-esteem has gone so high. They tell me that they feel at ease and free to stand before their peers and read for them.”
Gertrude also tells us that the reading club had another meaningful advantage. It gave Nakato and Wasswa an opportunity to bond with their mother by learning together. Gertrude didn’t feel she was particularly strong at reading herself, but Nakato and Wasswa are now helping her to improve her own vocabulary too!
Gertrude: “They would always come back home and read me some stories and explain to me what some of the stories meant and what they had learned out of them. My children may not know, but with them, I am also learning to read.”
Reading clubs are more than just stopgaps for when schools are disrupted. They create an environment for children to find joy and connection through the power of reading.
“When we had just joined the club, Teacher Grace asked me to stand up and read a story and I felt shy. I would stammer and feel a lot of panic, my heart pumping so fast because I was afraid of making mistakes. Now, I no longer fear!”
“The best thing about participating in the reading club is we have learnt how to read, and we have made many friends with whom we read.”
Listen to our podcast First Comes Food, where we go on a journey through Indigenous food forests in Saskatchewan, farming communities in African countries and early childhood community programs in Bolivia to meet the people who are growing food security for everyone. Their stories may surprise you.
First Comes Food is now streaming on our website and wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.