Hello and welcome to the Impacting Nigeria Series. In case this is your first time coming on, over the last few months, we have been bringing to you stories of young Nigerians working to create change and contributing their quota to national growth. These stories (for now) have been mostly in the educational area and today I bring you one of such stories – of Mercy Dayil and Daya’s Purple Foundation. Daya’s Purple Foundation is concerned with increasing and improving literacy in children especially orphans most recently showcased in their visit to Kingdom Kids Orphanage (pictures from which will be used in this post). I had a little chat with Mercy about her NGO, its work and the state of libraries and literacy in Nigeria. Highlights from our conversation are presented below.
Daya’s Purple Foundation is an NGO created to help build, educate and empower young orphans with special emphasis on and passion for abused and orphaned girls. We are passionate about the growth, development and education of every girl child as the girl child is more vulnerable, as well as the education and literacy of orphans and the less privileged.
The colour Purple stands for Royalty, integrity, confidence and independence. That is our goal for every girl child. To be; confident, independent and royal. We are passionate about quality education for everyone and that was what gave birth to the project, “Libraries without walls”…Making a difference through Education. Give books, Make a change!
The current state of library services in Africa, Nigeria and Jos is a deep topic. I feel reading culture is almost dead (if not completely) in Nigeria and in Africa as a whole. Despite having public, school and academic libraries all around, less than 1 per cent of the population use library services due to certain issues such as lack of relevant and recent materials in the libraries, and most important – digitalization. Nobody wants to go to a library when they can just use the internet to google information.
There is a serious cause for alarm because even schools don’t encourage reading culture. Assignments that are given these days aren’t found in textbooks, libraries aren’t stocked with relevant and updated materials, and some libraries don’t even have books.
Reading culture is almost gone in Africa. I feel it is specifically dead in Nigeria and Jos my hometown. Generally, people from here want the easy way in life? No business ideas, no innovations, no need to read. Even teachers no longer read, they give assignments and use the response in teaching – the easy way out. But what we don’t realize is the world is changing, technologies are invented every day, new innovations are coming, the world is becoming a digital village. If you don’t read and get new ideas and if your mind is not renewed every day, the world will pass you by.
I have come to discover that If you spend 15 minutes a day reading, it exposes you to more than 1,000,000 words per year. Some advantages of reading are; it helps articulate the reader’s thoughts, improves the reader’s vocabulary and makes the reader a more creative thinker. Reading enhances problem-solving skills. The structure of fiction—with a beginning, middle and end—trains the brain to think in sequence, to link cause, effect and significance. Reading increases concentration as it is more demanding on the brain.
Better reading culture in kids will expose kids to vast knowledge, improve their memory and increase their mental stimulation, etc. It will also give them stronger analytical thinking skills as they grow which will equip them to become future sound thinkers. Reading will help them develop better writing skills and also expand their vocabulary. I always love it when kids pronounce big words correctly and know the meanings also. A better reading culture can open up the minds of kids in knowing what to do with their future, in knowing different ideas and careers to choose from.
I will like to advise policymakers and individuals to Make reading culture a habit, an everyday exercise, encourage schools to have libraries – not just libraries but libraries stocked with relevant materials, and revive reading culture in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria and Africa as a whole because a wise friend told me that Readers of today are leaders of tomorrow. Reading can do a whole lot to a person’s mind and being.
Lets do our best to encourage each other as we all contribute our quota’s to this country’s development.
Watch out for more from the Impacting Nigeria Series.