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Wed, Aug 9, 2023 5:25 PM

The Hanging Library: Empowering Nigerian Children through Reading

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The Hanging Library: Empowering Nigerian Children through Reading
The Hanging Library, an initiative by The Neo-Child Initiative, is bridging the gap in Nigeria's education system by providing access to books and promoting a reading culture among children. Through its hanging libraries installed in classrooms, the initiative aims to empower children from low-income backgrounds and improve their academic performance. The article highlights the impact of the library on a young student named Abigail Babatunde, who has experienced a transformation in her reading abilities and overall enthusiasm for learning. It also sheds light on the importance of addressing the educational needs of both in-school and out-of-school children across Nigeria.

The Hanging Library, an innovative initiative by The Neo-Child Initiative (TNCI), is making a significant impact on Nigeria's education system. With its mission to empower children through reading, the initiative is bridging the educational gap in the country by providing access to books and promoting a culture of literacy among children. One school in Ejigbo, a working-class suburb of Lagos, has witnessed the positive transformation brought about by this library.

Eleven-year-old Abigail Babatunde, a primary six student at the Ejigbo public school, had initially struggled with reading and required constant help from her teachers. However, since the installation of the hanging library in her classroom, her reading skills have drastically improved. Babatunde can now read her textbooks effortlessly and even enjoys reading novels about friendship and adventure in her spare time.

Eniola Akanbi, Babatunde's class teacher, has noticed a remarkable change in her participation and engagement within the classroom. Babatunde volunteers to read to the class, responds to questions with confidence, and even reads signs while walking along the street. The hanging library has become a catalyst for Babatunde's academic growth and has sparked a desire to become a medical doctor.

The Hanging Library is a simple yet effective intervention. The bookshelf is made from disused fabric and resembles a hanging shoe rack with multiple compartments. Each compartment contains a selection of books arranged vertically by size. The shelves are stocked with a variety of books, including academic textbooks and storybooks, catering to the diverse interests and needs of the students.

The initiative, which began in Lagos in 2017, is now present in over 50 libraries across six states in Nigeria. It is primarily funded through book drives and contributions from volunteers, friends, and family members. The Neo-Child Initiative, with its network of almost 300 dedicated volunteers, not only provides books but also offers mentorship, literacy aid, and free medical services to children in low-income neighborhoods.

Nigeria faces significant challenges in its education system, with over 20 million out-of-school children, according to a UNESCO report. However, experts argue that the quality of basic education has also suffered due to inadequate funding and a lack of resources for children who are still in school. A staggering 75% of children aged seven-to-14 years cannot read a simple sentence or solve basic math problems, highlighting the pressing need for initiatives like The Hanging Library.

Seyi Bolaji, founder of Project Educate A Child, emphasizes the importance of targeting children both in and out of school. She suggests reaching out to street children through mobile libraries to teach them how to read and write. Rather than focusing solely on out-of-school children, Bolaji believes in addressing the declining standard of education for those already in school.

The Hanging Library has received praise from experts as an innovative solution to Nigeria's literacy crisis. Kemi Ogunsanya, a project manager at Lagos-based TeacherX Project, recognizes the impact of reading on academic progression and mindset development. With more than half of Nigeria's population living below the poverty line, the hanging libraries provide low-income students an opportunity to improve their grades and broaden their worldview.

Efforts are underway to expand The Hanging Library to more communities in different states and develop a plan for book replacement and upkeep. However, financial and logistical challenges remain significant obstacles to achieving these goals. Nevertheless, the library has already made a profound difference in the lives of children like Babatunde.

Abigail Babatunde's story exemplifies the power of equal access to education and resources. With the hanging library, she has developed a love for reading, improved her academic performance, and gained confidence in her abilities. The Hanging Library continues to transform the lives of Nigerian children, striving to create a future where all children have the opportunity to learn and thrive.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-09 News

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