Today marks the 52nd annual International Literacy Day! I thought that on this day, I might share some of the best moments I’ve seen across all our schools while watching one powerful transformation take place in our students – learning to read.
I recall my first trip to Joel village – before we had Teacher Supervisors, before we even had tablets or solar electricity. I remember sleeping in the room next to a classroom where Dhubekire was teaching and waking up to her teaching entering grade one students about vowel sounds in combination with the letter “k” – ka, ke, ki, ko, ku (the students would say ku more like kuuuuuu).* I remember later trips, after we started using the Mwabu curriculum, where students would be learning letters from content projected onto the school walls. I’d walk around the village and return to find students tracing letters in the dirt, with their teacher circulating between groups to make sure they were following instructions.
I remember sitting in the back of a classroom when a second grade student was called on to read a tough sentence from the board. And while he struggled initially, he persevered and was able to read that sentence and the one following. I remember seeing new grade one students use the tablets for the first time, learning about a girl named Precious, and following her story as they learned the letters of the alphabet. I heard from parents who said their children came home from school and taught their younger siblings and relatives how to write the letters as well. And most recently, I saw our students perform a slam poetry piece on Nelson Mandela and the importance of literacy.
This, fundamentally, is what drives our work forward each and every day. Impact Network started with the goal of bringing quality education to rural areas – places with no running water, electricity, and very limited resources. At our core, we strive to teach very little people to do one of the hardest but most important things that their minds can grasp. Thank you all for being a part of making that happen, and Happy Literacy Day!