The delectable Carl Sagan once said, “To read is to voyage through time.” This couldn’t be more true.

Books are an embodiment of the wisdom and knowledge of times and ages past. They preserve the experiences, encounters, and civilisations of generations long gone. Just a glance at a book and you are immersed into the world of the writer; his opinions, beliefs, convictions etc. That is how many great men we celebrate today got to build their monumental legacies; a testament of immersive quest for knowledge.

But, these days, only few young people appreciate the gift of knowledge. Most kids would rather spend hours seeing movies (seasons after seasons), playing games and goofing on the internet, than spend one hour reading. The advent of social media has really shortened the attention span of this millennium; we can’t afford to spend time to acquire knowledge and gain perspective through reading; we are all afraid of losing out.

Recent studies show that there are approximately 43 million social network users in Nigeria, this figure is projected to grow to 103 million users in 2026; the majority of the users are youths. But, when it comes to the statistics of literacy, you find that Nigeria falls below expected standard. Nigeria has an adult literacy rate of 62.02% According to UNESCO. Globally, Nigeria ranks 136º in the ranking of literacy rate.

It is against this backdrop that Tolorunju Ifeoluwapo decided to step up and proffer a solution. Tolorunju is a 26-year-old Religion and African Culture graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba. The Ondo-born altruist who currently works with SomeGood Foundation in Lagos is passionate about rendering financial support to those in need while driving sustainable education and peacebuilding in his community.

Tolorunju launched a Gift Books and TextBook project under DO-Take Action in her community to sensitise them on the benefits of reading and encourage them to cultivate a good reading habit.

She carried out the project at Community High School, Akungba, Akoko in Ondo. The project entailed the following;

  1. A presentation on how to draft an examination plan.
  2. Group discussion on group reading
  3. Drafting of a suitable WAEC timetable to help the students assiduously prepare for their examination
  4. Distribution of gift books and textbooks to underprivileged students who don’t have the money to buy textbooks 

In the course of the project, a minimum of 16 students was informed of the need to have a reading habit, and prepare diligently for their examinations, especially Senior WAEC. 80% percent of participants learned how to draw a daily reading plan/WAEC study timetable. A minimum of 7 students took the Improved Access to Quality Primary Education knowledge test.  A minimum of 7 students received 30 textbooks to help them study better. The students commit to using the daily reading plan/WAEC study timetable to prepare for WAEC, while 10 students pledged to advocate for Improved Access to Quality Primary/Secondary Schools Education within their community. In the end, 2 GDCs were recruited from the participants to organize a Gift Books and Textbooks outreach program in their community.

Tolorunju believes that if students can stick to their study plan, they can also share a success story like hers. What change are you engineering?

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