Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mmm, The Pleasure of Reading

While the ‘Benighted Estate’ spent last week and this week jousting over politics, International Children’s Book Day slithered past almost unnoticed. World Reader, Golden Baobab and the Read Worms Club (Ashesi Uni) travelled to Adeiso (Eastern) to read with school kids.

The kids have been provided with electronic readers by World Reader so they can read books without turning pages. Mmm, pleasant. World Reader is a not-for-profit. They are doing this as a calling.

The reader pilot programme is running at Adeiso, Kade and Teacher Mante. Adeiso is the kid’s-gloves child. The kids have e-readers, Saturday readings with visitors from World Reader and Read Worms. Kade has just the e-readers, and at Teacher Mante the kids just have government books or government no-books.

After a while, Adeiso, Kade and Teacher Mante will be compared, and we all know what the scale would be.

E-reader providers, African-content promoters, and undergrads with purpose are coming together to build a sparkling future for our kids, and it hardly makes the news! It’s at once one of the most wonderful, heart-warming, ‘smileable’ things I’ve heard of since ...


  1. This is a beautiful & well-written piece, I like!

  2. great things, which are apolitical, hardly make the news. The newsmakers and the so-called social commentators cum radio journalists cum morning-show presenters, that body of half-baked journalists supposedly to be working for the good of the country are only interested in the very things that divide us, politics. They never here the very things that would unite us, the future. No! How many listeners want to hear that school kids in some villages are being helped to read; that a reading experiment is going on; they would want to know what the president has said, what the opposition is reacting to and so on... Yes. That's how vain we have become.

  3. Hate to be a voice of dissent, especially considering the postive spirit in which this post was written. But...

    Am I the only one who sees wrong in the picture of vacant smiling young black faces grsping onto new Western invention that can really serves no other significant purpose than to enrich Amazon?

    How many Ghanaians know what a Kindle is? No scratch that...rather how many Americans have heard of the device?

    (I live in NYC)

    So, they handed out "ereaders" to African children? Ereaders?! Wow...really...you must see what is wrong with this picture! Do you?

  4. Kwame Mensa-Bonsu06 April, 2011

    NY, you didn't indicate whether there was a support structure for all those "e-readers". If people want to help villagers...get them proper books!! Easy to manage! Unless obviously as Amazon is attempting to get the customers of tomorrow...which is more likely to fail by the looks of it.

  5. @Anonymous - Whether it's an e-reader or a hard-copy book it's filling a knowledge/reading vacuum. And navigating an e-reader might not be as easy as thumbing through a book, but it's not rocket science... and let's not be so readily opposed to everything western!
    Perhaps it's not a sustainable model (i can't say), but for now i think it's fantastic idea! I actually see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  6. @ Nana Fredua-Agyeman:

    As for us, we will keep talking about it, no?

  7. @ yeh #1:

    Thanks for liking!

  8. @ Anon (the dissentient):

    This project will not enrich Amazon. It uses free content and e-books donated by publishers.

    Result: the kinds get it for FREE!

  9. @ Kwame Mensa-Bonsu:

    Maybe I don't know nearly enough about the project/programme, but the books are free. Of course, it could be a way to get tomorrow's Amazon clients, but it does bring books to our children.

  10. @ yeh #2:

    From what I'm told it's sustainable because all it takes is continued interest and willpower. I agree with you that it is looking good (for now).

  11. May take a little more than continued interest and willpower, I'm afraid:

    - E-readers have to be kept charged up to be useful(i.e. electricity), books do not. How many of those kids can afford to keep these devices switched on?

    - Devices have to be connected to the internet to update content (must i elaborate?)

    Does any of you know how much one these devices cost?

    How many of these kids can afford a balanced meal daily? How many of them would drop out in the next year for inability to pay fees?

    African countries continuing to accept band-aids to mend cracked & spilling-over dams.

    Or look at it this way - How much has being "readily unopposed to everything Western" done for you lately?

  12. @ Anonymous, I hear the new Kindle can stay charged for a couple of weeks... and I bet somehow people in Adeiso, etc, manage to charge their mobile phones one way or the other (same electricity)... so as banal as it sounds - where there is a will there is a way!

    Fair enough, the kindle is a couple of hundred bucks, but comes at no cost to these folks. So some might not be able to pay their school fees but they can learn to read... seriously, one needs to start from somewhere! Of course it's easy much easier to poke holes in existing solutions that suggest them! How easy is it to organize a book drive and mail 2000 books, plus find a library space for them vs. send 100 E-readers with 20 pre-downloaded books???

  13. Anon, what have you done for Ghana or young black faces recently?!I hope its more than sitting behind a computer or maybe smartphone, or better yet, some other Western invention clacking away at an ambitious and audacious project. If you look in the mirror, you will probably see a 'young black face grsping onto new Western invention(s)' and enjoying the benefits and comforts these Western inventions afford you. You proudly point out you live in NYC yet you make me think you despise the West.

    You can ignore my comment if you are not African and/or black but if you are please tell me you have been doing a lot more for Africa than Western bashing.

    ps: Thanks for bringing me out of my lurking mode. NY, thumbs up on the blog. It's wicked!

  14. What a great thing! No gift solves every issue, but this one has great possibilities. The machines also come with human visitors which will make the experience more powerful for the little ones.


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