Reading Tents in Uganda Foster Learning with Thousands of Books

International Literacy Day – Children International
Sep 5, 2013 5:00 PM ET
Press Release

Kansas City, MO, September 5, 2013 /3BL Media/ - Children International’s community reading tents in Uganda delight children and families and bring together local leadership, politicians and educators in anticipation of International Literacy Day on September 8. Literacy programs continue to be important as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reveals that despite gains in literacy, nearly 775 million adults (15 years and older) still cannot read or write and 123 million youth are illiterate. UNESCO’s International Literacy Day 2013 site explains that literacy is “essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy.”

Providing access to books and fostering a culture where reading is a valued activity are essential elements to solving the literacy problem. Children International’s Community Literacy Program utilizes community reading tents in Uganda to offer the opportunity for children and parents to engage in a variety of reading activities in a fun environment celebrating literacy. Activities include storytelling, paired reading, reading aloud, crafts, story writing and the opportunity to discuss ideas. Nearly 20,000 books will be available in the reading tents this week.

Since 2011, Children International’s community reading tents in Uganda have reached over 35,000 children from poor areas including Katanga, Makerere-Kuvulu, Nakulabye-Kiwunya, Makerere-Kinoni and Jabula – Bwaise. 

The Community Literacy Program also places book box libraries in communities where reading tents have been implemented. A book box library is placed in a home selected by community members and is easily accessible to the majority of the members of the community. Readers and textbook materials procured by Children International are included in the book box library.

Literacy is much more than an educational priority – it is the ultimate investment in the future and the first step towards all the new forms of literacy required in the twenty-first century. We wish to see a century where every child is able to read and to use this skill to gain autonomy.”

Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General

Children International’s reading tents and community book box libraries are examples of innovative approaches designed to help foster a culture of reading. In 2012, Children International together with implementing partners distributed books and other educational materials to 7,329 libraries, schools and community centers in Africa, Asia and Latin America. (Implementing partners include district government offices of Education and of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the National Library of Uganda, The Uganda Children Writers and Illustrators Association, The Reading Association of Uganda, and the Uganda Library and Information Science Association.) In Uganda alone, 457,000 children are now able to visit well-stocked community libraries made possible through Children International’s book donations.

“Parents, caretakers and local leaders in the slums of Uganda have embraced Children International’s Community Literacy Program as an effective strategy to engage adults and children in positive activities to foster a culture of reading” says Kathryn Phelps, Children International’s Director of Programs. 

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Children International prepares children and youth to escape the traps of poverty by supporting their critical needs, building resilience, and engaging them in transformative activities. Children International accomplishes this by providing crucial benefits and compassionate care through easily accessible, modern community centers. Children International’s presence, programs and supporters have a positive impact on children, youth, families and communities; provide protection; encourage self-sufficiency; and serve as catalysts for change.

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Christy Howard
Public Relations
Children International
Direct:  (816) 943-3730