An initiative dubbed Mombasa Reads Kids Club (MRK) has been launched in Mombasa County to promote reading among children of tender age.
The Children’s book author Sarah Abdi has partnered with Kenya National Library Service to launch the programme aimed at creating awareness on the importance of reading for leisure among children.
Ms Abdi said the main objective of cultivating and promoting a reading culture is to make reading a habit that is appreciated and loved by children.
Speaking during the launch on Monday, Ms Abdi who is also the pioneer of the project said the aim of the club is to form a community of readers to bring social change to enlighten, empower and to add knowledge among small children.
“Reading should be a common social activity and when introduced at a young age, the children will be in a better place to develop a good reading habit and enjoy learning at school,” noted the author.
During the event held at Mombasa Library Service, Ms Abdi launched her second children’s story book titled ‘A Boy Named Sala’.
She said apart from transforming, teaching and entertaining, her books act as a preserve of knowledge and culture which is being impacted to the younger generations.
“Times have changed with rural to urban migration. We used to get stories from our grandmothers with new modalities in place, children will be able to learn about their culture and customs through reading my books,” she added.
She further said her two story books, Arawelo and A Boy Named Salah with a background setting from a far flung remote village in Mandera, depicting real life of children in those areas of Northern Kenya are aimed at motivating and empowering them through reading.
Ms Abdi pledged to donate her two books to all government libraries in 47 counties where young children can access saying she plans to digitize her work to allow remote and wider access.
The Mombasa County Executive in charge of education, ICT and Library Services Samuel Ngugi said children should be encouraged to embrace the culture of reading books at an early age.
“It’s important to instill the culture of reading in pupils while they are growing up so that it becomes part of their habit in life,” said Ngugi.
The County official decried the shortage of learning and reading books for over 100,000 students within Mombasa County and appealed for donations from well-wishers.
Ngugi said due to Covid-19 challenge plans are under way to form a digital library to allow remote access to educational content, breaking down the physical barriers too.
By Mohamed Hassan