In communities like Enoosaen, storybooks are often considered a luxury. There are no local bookstores or public libraries, and most schools lack the resources to provide students with a variety of reading material. As a result, children do not develop the habit of reading for pleasure. At Kakenya’s Dream, we want to nurture a lifelong love for reading in our girls. We know that reading not only leads to improved academic performance, but is also key to building children’s vocabulary, sparking curiosity, improving critical thinking, and introducing them to new concepts, places, and ideas. We are excited to announce our new partnership with Storymoja, a creative Kenya-based organization that creates and publishes African storybooks.
Storymoja offers a wide array of African children’s books, academic textbooks, career literature, and more. Storymoja also runs an innovative program called Start a Library, which supplies school libraries with all of these different kinds of books and trains staff on developing reading programs within the school. With an ambitious goal to “get a book in every hand” and nurture a culture of reading for pleasure amongst African youth, we couldn’t think of a better partner to help enrich the reading and learning experience of our students at KCE I and II.
Through this new partnership, Storymoja will lead capacity-building workshops for students, teachers, and librarians at KCE I and II on library management, student career counseling, strategies for bringing books to life for readers, and more. Storymoja will also support Kakenya’s Dream’s efforts to establish after-school reading clubs for students and assist with expanding and diversifying KCE I and II’s library selection with career guidance literature and storybooks by African authors.
The Kakenya’s Dream-Storymoja partnership kicked off this week with two engaging workshops, a career guidance session for our high school students, and a two-day teacher training workshop on library management. The career guidance session for students introduced literature and resources designed to expand students’ knowledge of future career opportunities. Having grown up in a very remote community, our students aren’t often aware of career paths outside of those they see in our small community. So during the session, students took their very first career aptitude tests. The test results identified a handful of career opportunities that match each student’s individual skillset and personality, and students were given literature to learn more about the career fields they matched with. The girls were thrilled to be matched with jobs and career paths they hadn’t heard of before, and were eager to explore them and learn more!
The second workshop, designed for KCE faculty and staff, was dedicated to developing strategies for encouraging students’ appetite for reading and introducing storybooks into classroom learning to teach life skills and important academic concepts. With guidance from Storymoja workshop facilitators, KCE teachers practiced integrating storybooks into their existing lesson plans and designing activities that foster students’ desire to continue reading outside of the classroom.
For students like ours who live in a very remote part of the world, books hold the power to expand their horizons by exposing them to the vast diversity of the human experience outside of their community. At Kakenya’s Dream, we believe in the importance of filling young minds not only with academia, but with fairytales, folklore, mystery, poetry, and more. We hope to help our students find the literature that sparks a lifelong love of reading, and we look forward to growing our partnership with Storymoja to achieve just that.