On the 8th September 2019 in Nyamagabe District, Nyagisenyi stadium, Rwanda joined the world in celebrating International Literacy Day under the UNESCO theme,” Literacy and Multilingualism.” This year’s national theme is,” Reading and writing in different language is a source of knowledge.”

“To have another language is to possess a second soul” said by respected man from German, Charlemagne. This demonstrates how important is to use many languages.

Reading and writing helps you to discover yourself, every good book opens up new dimensions of thoughts for the reader. When you read a book, you somehow try to connect the events, emotions, experiences and characters in the books with yourself. This not only keeps you engrossed into the book but it also makes you realize how you would react and feel to those situations that have not yet occurred in your life, that is why in 2012, in efforts to develop a culture of reading among children and adults in Rwanda, the Ministry of Education, through Rwanda Education Board, launched Rwanda Reads. Now, in its seventh year, “Rwanda Reads” has been rebranded as “Soma Rwanda”.

It’s often said that in the 21st century content is king. But what is less known is that distribution, editing and marketing of that content is the emperor. While the field of publishing has opened up in new and amazing ways, the need for a knowledgeable publisher to guide an author through the writing, production, distribution, and marketing of a book has only become much more important, within that power of publishers to boost the culture of reading and writing, the environment has to be conducive for them.

Regarding publishers, Minister of State, Dr. Isaac Munyakazi says: “We cannot talk about reading and writing without mentioning publishers, you have the power to boost the culture of reading and writing. I encourage publishers who are here to keep the spirit and their works will be beneficial to the future generations,” he said.

Everything educators can do to create relationship between readings or writings and children is so important for their future development. However that cannot be achieved without the support of parents and other stakeholders in this critical culture of reading and writing. Parents are special partners in this journey, if they can read for their children, they are not just helping them to develop reading comprehension. They are also nurturing a deep love of reading.

And when children are trained love to read, they choose to read on their own, at the end they will become strong readers and will perform better at school with that power of parents in cultivating the culture of reading and writing among their children, Minister of State, Dr. Isaac Munyakazi requested for their support, “Reading and Writing is a source of knowledge. Parents, Teachers and Leaders let us promote this culture starting from young people and our future generations will achieve a lot in every aspect of development we desire.” he said

Minister of State also continued by underlining specifically the contribution of parents, this culture has no boarder, be young or old, and our families should adopt this culture as the way of encouraging our children to do so. Parents please buy books and read poems for your children, then ask them to make a summary of what they have heard;” he added.

Promoting reading and writing culture is in line with the country’s objectives but also in line with achieving the fourth SDG focusing on quality education. Literacy is also a tool for sustainable development and has the power to transform the lives and promote social cohesion. Research proved that economy or development of any country depends on silver foundation of human capital. That can only be achieved if young people in our schools are able to read and write. Minister of State, Dr. Isaac Munyakazi; “Rwanda is striving to become a force in the world of business, and a knowledge based economy. One of the strategies to achieve this, is to have people who are passionate in reading and writing;” he noted.

A child’s motivation is also a key in learning or pursuing and being persistent in any action taken or behavior adopted. The motivation is the drive desire, precursor and cornerstone to learning. In the ceremony of International Literacy Day celebration in Nyamagabe District, at Nyagisenyi stadium, 30 pupils from all districts of the country who won the Reading and Writing competition knows as “Andika Rwanda” were awarded different school materials in order to motivate these young talents.

In the ceremony of International Literacy Day celebration was the right time to launch the National Literacy Month. The purpose of Rwanda’s National Literacy Month 2019 is to spur children and adults throughout Rwanda to read, write, and embrace literacy as the foundation for learning, a tool for life and a means for individuals to contribute to Rwanda’s national ambitions. Minister of state, Dr. Isaac Munyakazi launched these activities on National level, “We are also launching the National Literacy Month, and the activities to encourage this culture will continue to be conducted in all provinces of Rwanda.” he said

And it is believed that by fostering the reading culture, the outcome will be visible in improved completion and transition rates in school as well as a reduced drop-out rate in primary and secondary schools.

It has been proven that language is much more that the external expression. It is indeed more in accordance with reality to consider language as a part of culture. It is this regards, in the conclusion of the International Literacy day’s celebration, Minister of Sports and Culture, Nyirasafari Espérance mentioned that language specifically Kinyarwanda should be given special attention, “Yes, we are celebrating International Literacy day, and all languages are encouraged to be used. However Kinyarwanda language is part of our culture!” she noted.

Minister of Sports and Culture, Hon. Nyirasafari Espérance concluded the celebration day by recognizing all partners who are fostering this culture among Rwandan, “We thank all partners who have made this day to happen, more particularly Ministry of Education;” she underlined.

Students were in attendance of International Literacy Day celebration and the launch of National Literacy Month.

Director General of Rwanda Education Board, Dr. Ndayambaje Irénée and Minister of State, Dr. Isaac Munyakazi kneeled down as children read stories.

Different leaders are chatting on how culture of reading and writing can be strengthened in schools.

The best 30 winners of Reading and Writing completion were happy to receive the school materials.

Hon. Minister of State, Dr. Isaac Munyakazi (on far left), representative of French Embassy to Rwanda, G. Géromine (Second left), Ambassador of U.S to Rwanda,Peter H. Vrooman (Second right) and Hon. Minister of Sports and Culture, Nyirasafari Espérance (on far right) are reading for the children in four languages (Swahili, French, English and Kinyarwanda).

 It was also the right moment to reflect on our culture while young people are dancing.

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