Chang’ombe Primary School, the public primary school in a remote village of Rabai in the sub-county of Kilifi County, was the unlikely recipient of eReaders with a total of five thousand books thanks to Worldreader, a San Francisco-headquartered non-profit championing digital reading in underserved communities to create a world where everyone can be a reader. According to the World Bank, only one in nineteen African countries has anything close to adequate book provision in schools.
“We are excited that we have been the first recipients of these eReaders, and the first e-Reading centre in the county, thanks to Worldreader”, beamed Mr Douglas Tsuma, the headmaster at Chang’ombe Primary School. The school, which has more than one thousand nine hundred kids from the ages of six to fifteen, is one of the oldest in the region having been established more than a century ago.
“This was actually were the missionaries first pitched tent before proceeding to what was later referred to ‘Rabai Mpya’ ”, said Mr Mwandalo Munga, the chairman of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) at the school. “But as you can see, we are too far removed from the centre of development, and we usually get forgotten and bypassed when it comes to initiatives like this one, and that is why we are very thankful and excited to launch this project today”, he continued.
The rusted tin-roofs and the “once used-to-be football pitch” speak to the neglect that has befallen the school. An unfinished classroom block stands as a testimony that the school is not a priority to the local administration. “That unfinished building has been like that for the last three years”, said Mr Tsuma. “I have made numerous calls to the county, but there is no movement yet – but we are hopeful”, Mr Tsuma concluded.
Despite all these infrastructural challenges, the schools mean mark has been improving, and with the launch of the e-Reading Centre, both the teachers and students are committed to making sure that they register even better results this year and the year to come. “We will do well, with access to reading materials and the commitment from our teachers and parents. Only the sky is the limit”, said one student.
In attendance to preside over the launch of the centre were the sub-county education officer, Ms Mariam Ngome and the Worldreader director in Kenya, Ms Joan Mwachi. They both encourage the students, teachers, and parents to collaborate and make full use of the equipment that they have received. “In the eReaders, you have story books which will help you expand your worldview, but there are also revision materials that you should take advantage of as you prepare for your exams”, Ms Mwachi said.