by Karine Veldhoen
Moses had a package. It was homemade. The package was made out of corrugated cardboard of two sorts. The pieces were folded and inter-locking. I was suspicious they held a treasure inside. I was curious. I cajoled him in English to share his treasure with me. The children around us giggled about our awkward adventure of discovery. I continued to smile my encouragement and use the nearby, homemade soccer ball as a diversion from the intensity.
Slowly Moses began to open up. Slowly he began to unfold the treasure. Slowly he shared.
As he pulled the tab out of the body, in a barely audible whisper, he said, “Book” and showed the homemade pages inside. At that moment, my eyes filled with tears at his creativity, our communion, and the hallowed ground on which we stood. Out of all that 100 tons of books that Niteo has sent to Uganda, none is more precious than the one in Moses’ hands. I don’t have the next picture, you can’t see the pages, because it is our job to build on his dream.
We will send books to Moses and his sister. We will send books to the school because that this next part of the story.
Of every 10 children who start school, only 3 will complete elementary school successfully (2017, USAID). Passing the knowledge based examinations at the end of the cycle in Primary 7 or Grade 6, is a major barrier. This high stakes examination requires the student to have adequate knowledge on a broad range of topics memorized, and fluent reading, writing, and numeracy skills. Those skills are enhanced when children have access to books and read daily.
Niteo Africa exists to help Moses and his sister to fulfill their promise. Let’s ensure we get books into their hands!
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