Meet Steven; a 9 year old student who is learning and reading at Mbuyapi Primary School.
‘At first it was hard for me to read and write in standard 4, but I am now happy I can read’
We share his story and how Temwa’s Early grade literacy project is supporting him and the communities that we work with in Northern Malawi; one of the poorest countries in the world.
Steven lives with both of his parents and his two siblings and is the youngest member of the family. The main source of income for his family is selling firewood. Immediately after his family was informed about Temwa’s establishment of reading camps in Steven’s area he was enrolled.
Since the camp opened on the 24th of October, 2018 not once has he been absent.
Before attending the reading camp, both Steven and his father said that he was not able to read and write, which affected his overall performance in school. However, he has now improved his skills and is starting to read and write on his own. When he finishes school, Steven would like to study to be a teacher.
Impact of Temwa’s reading camps
In late 2017, Temwa launched a pilot of these after-school Reading Camps, complementing a nationwide USAID (a leading Global development agency) literacy programme. After a successful trial in six villages, and the training of eight local mentors, we have now expanded the project to a total of ten villages.
In 2018 these 10 weekly Reading Camps were averaging about 1,000 attending students per week – far exceeding the target of 600 – with teachers reporting improved levels of literacy and school performance amongst attendees, some of whom are not enrolled at school.
In an area with very large class sizes and often intermittent primary school attendance by the poorest children, we know from the feedback from students and parents that Reading Camps have been crucial in helping students who fall behind in class. Despite the sizes of Reading Camps being oversubscribed, many still offer more individual support than what schools have the capacity to provide.
Thanks to the Camps, many illiterate students have started recognising letters of the alphabet and those that already knew how to read are improving in terms of fluency and comprehension.
Together with Temwa’s community library and local schools, the ten reading Camps are enabling access to more than 17,000 books and other educational materials for students – providing crucial resources to both pupils and the broader community.
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