Reading takes centerstage in Day of African Child celebrations at the Kigali Public Library

Tuesday 21 June 2016


Save the Children joined the rest of the world in marking the 26th International Day of the African Child on Thursday, June 16, 2016. The celebration was held under the theme, “Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights” and in Rwanda, this was organized in partnership with the Kigali Public Library, Grace Rwanda and Institute Francais.

95 primary school students from six schools participated in the event, including Ntwari Primary School Nyamirambo Primary School, Groupe Scolaire de Kicukiro, and Kacyiru Primary School. Students from Maranyundo High School and Nyamata Teachers’ Training College also participated.

Activities to celebrate the day started with a tour around the library, allowing the students a special opportunity to explore available books at the Kigali Public Library. The students were also introduced to digital materials available. Other activities planned for the day includes storytelling, poetry and ‘read aloud sessions’ that were focused on literacy, learning and storytelling activities.

Teta Lyn, 14, a P.6 student at Intwari Primary School said such an event was very helpful to her and her schoolmates as it reminded them that all children had rights, and urged them to demand for it. Teta added that she wished reading and all other related literacy activities were extended to the community so that all children including those in rural areas can equally benefit from the opportunities that come along with such events. 

Augustin Gasake, an author of children’s books came to read some books to children: “Reading is one of the rights of children, and it’s a good thing that children love storybooks. Demonstrating a storybook also a great approach to instill a culture of reading among children.”

Save the Children, through the USAID-funded project, “Mureke Dusome” donated 4 titles of children’s books written in Kinyarwanda language to all children who attended the Day of the African Child. Among the titles of books that were donated to the children were: Ingona idasanzwe, Umuganura ntazibagirwa, Mariza abona isomo, and Bela ahinduka igikomangoma. The children also received an English dictionary each from Grace Rwanda. 

Since 1991, when it was initiated by the Organization of African Unity, the Day of the African Child is an annual celebration held on the 16th of June every year to honor those who participated in the Soweto uprising of 1976. About 10,000 black school children marched in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the poor quality of their education and demanding their right to be taught in their own language. The purpose of commemorating this day is to raise awareness of the need for improvement of education provided to African children.