Hi, my name is Charles Obuk, aged 17 and a member of Butterfly project. I am from the Up-country Uganda from Lamwo District at the boarder of Sudan.
I am carrying out a cause of Reading project in my rural village, Agoro sub-county. It has been since 2012 and still progressing. I work with children of age bracket 5-15.
Reading is fun but advantageous in a way that it enables one to acquire reading skills, learn how to write, improves on their vocabularies and broadens their mind. It is essential that the children must know how to read and write and that’s why I’m concerned with the village children.
The fact is local children need to learn how to read and write but there is no one to come out and takes the initiative to help them achieve their wishes of knowing reading writing as well as English speaking. This is becoming a global problem since most of the children in the villages are taught using vernacular languages and they end up reaching upper classes without knowing a single word in English and they can’t even respond to a ‘’hi’’.
I’ve tried to analyze the causes of this global enemy (Rural children failing to read, write and speak English) and this acted as a moving force for me to take a step forward to have this project in place.
But before I came up with this cause, my fellow village mates whom I used to play with could not even say their ages when I ask them in English, it wasn’t a big surprise to me coz I also went through the same challenge before I joined the Butterfly project, I remember my first time to speak English for atleast 2mins was when I joined the project and I was for an exclusive interview, guess what, I exploded broken English like a baby learning to call dad and mum, wisely I could wait for other members who knew a bit of English to go first for the video shooting while I heed to the words they say and I could try to imitate the exact words but I would miss some.
But anyway that’s not the main point, the fact is there is no motivations and role model to the rural children, first of all most of our parents never went to school in their days like my mum, she was the last born from the family and she spent all her days looking after animals and weeding, she told me that she attended Primary one for two days and that marked the end of her education. So you can see such a scenario where a child is born by uneducated parents and lived among the uneducated population, the child will automatically have no inspiration. I tell you that it was only through getting exposed to outside environment – Kampala that I got inspired to learn and love English.
So, it is a challenge to us that if we can turn the children population in the rural to be literate by enabling them to read, write and speak English, and then the generation after them will live among literate population and automatically learn easily.
For the last two years of the cause – Reading Project, a number of kids have proved themselves ready to learn and that’s what keeps me going. But still like I said, the parents do not see the philosophy as to why the children need to be trained how to read, write and speak English and so they tend to keep their children busy in the gardens, I believe with time as this cause prospers and progresses with greater achievements, their ears and eyes will open up and more kids will join.
For the first time I arrived in Kampala in 2011, I thought it was only the village children who had this problem but to my surprise, I realized that there are local kids within slum areas in Kampala who also suffer from the same problem and I decided to have them benefit from the same training.
It was marvellous over the Easter Period here in Kampala where I had enough time to interact with some of the local children in the slum community of Acholi Quarter, I organised an Easter Readathon where an individual enjoyed reading more than 5 different books of small volume – story books.
”It is really fun” said this young girl. Nothing was more fun than to have the children reading story books.
I have made it a priority that every holidays when I am at home in the village, I have to get the children into reading and besides there are mobs activities for fun that we have with the children like Drama and other fun events.
The real issue is I’d like to see other people around the globe coming in to join hands for the greater success and achievements of this cause, I mean supporters and mentors. There’re lots we need for this project but the little you have matters a lot for the betterment of this world. Like I said there are always holiday activities that need supports
Please can you help??