Saturday 3rd June 2023 was a big day. Thank you to everyone who joined us on 3rd June in Kenya at Alliance Girls High School, Kiambu County, to launch Digital Essay Competition (DEC) 2023. Thank you especially to the school principal, Madam Jedidah Mwangi, for hosting the event at Alliance Girls where there were 3 winners and finalists in the school. We were honored to have with us many friends and colleagues, including the ChezaCheza Dance Foundation team—whose amazing talent energized everyone in the house—2022 winner Mohamed Khalif Noor, who will go to the US to join Middlebury College later this year, and our guest of honor Director Fred Haga, Kenya Ministry of Education Director of Special Needs Education, who spoke about diversity in society and his own personal mission:
“Diversity is a strength, not a limitation. My purpose in life is to make sure that the diversity in our society does not prevent anyone from participating fully.”
DEC 2023 is officially open for entries through 31st July. We invite all upper primary and secondary school students to submit their essays at essay.ekitabu.com answering the question: “What would you invent for a better future?” The entry categories are: Kiswahili, English, Art, Kenyan Sign Language, Braille, French, German, and Arabic.
In Rwanda on 3rd June, we also joined hands with our friends at Kigali Public Library (KPL) to celebrate Rwanda’s rising writing stars—over 1,000 writers with 48 exceptional winners in Rwanda’s first ever countrywide, inclusive KPL writing competition. Winners were awarded laptops, bicycles, KPL shirts, annual KPL memberships, and certificates. Yves Dushimiyimana, Social Studies teacher at École St. Filippo Smaldone Deaf School in Kigali, shared his enthusiasm:
“Six of my Deaf learners won in the KPL Writing Competition 2023. Their hard work and creativity deserved all the recognition. As a teacher, I am so excited!”
The KPL Writing Competition builds creative writing skills among Rwandan children and youth with the opportunity to become published authors, and it promotes inclusive reading and writing for all Rwandans.
Finally, on 3rd June in Malawi, we held a first eKitabu Book Talk together with our friends at the Malawi National Library Service, Lilongwe with over 40 learners with and without disabilities and their teachers. We read Does Your Father Snore by Kathy Luckett, and Nyimbo ya Lireni by Peter Khomani. Rhoda Nyirongo, a Malawian children’s book author shared:
“Participation of the learners at the Book Talk was impressive. Some of the learners were struggling to read because they do not read at home. They only have school books that they access at school. We need to create a reading culture in families at home.”
Congratulations to all friends and colleagues who made and joined these events on 3rd June! The fact that all three happened on one day was more or less a coincidence. The date was a good one for collaborators in all three countries—Malawi, Rwanda, and Kenya—and it was a happy coincidence connecting us across places and relationships with people reading, writing, and learning together.