Children learning how to read at the centre
As a growing child, the Founder of Flipbook Foundation for Literacy Advancement, Mrs. Belinda Nzeribe, struggled to read and write even when all her mates could comfortably do so.
The upsetting experience and the glaring low literacy skills among Nigerian youths, informed her decision to establish the Flipbook foundation. Since establishment, Nzeribe and her volunteer team have been providing remedial literacy and creative writing programme for public school pupils in Lagos.
Just last week, the Literacy Advocate took a step further by launching a Literacy and Teens Centre at Ilupeju, Lagos. The short and long-term goal of the centre is to provide opportunity for children from low-income homes to learn how to read, write and communicate effectively. Nzeribe’s conviction is that one, who can read and write effectively, can learn, access opportunities and make informed decision.
Director, Lagos State Agency for Mass Education, Mrs. Oluwakemi Kalesanwo, who represented the Special Adviser on Education, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, at the launch, said the new centre would give children in the community opportunity to improve their literacy skills.
Kalesanwo, who expressed delight at the project, lauded the Flipbook team and volunteers, saying what they did will add great value to the developmental programmes of the state, since literacy for all, is crucial for any progressive nation.
She said, “we are given the mandate to go and raise the literacy level of Lagos State and we need collaborations from stakeholders to achieve this. We need organisations like, Flipbook to help us achieve the mandate. Literacy is a big issue for the state and the country at large, not only for children but also for adults. Nigeria will develop and grow in leaps and bounds. Citizens will not only know their rights, but will also live responsibly and nobody will intimidate them.”
Nzeribe, on her part, stated: “Flipbook has fulfilled a dream today with opening of children and teens literacy centre. We will run reading improvement programmes for the low income earners and struggling readers, so, they can read, write and cope with their studies in schools. Tutors and volunteers will help children with their reading vocabulary and comprehension skills.
“We went to some of the public schools in the state for our creative writing programmes and we discovered that some of the secondary school students could not write coherent sentences. The situation became worse when we went to primary schools. We discovered that thousands of children couldn’t read and write, they are attending school but not learning. Without intervention, an illiterate child will become an illiterate adult.”
Expressing that low literacy inhibits true knowledge and understanding, Nzeribe said, “It encourages ignorance and the spread of fake news, it discourages critical thinking and encourages half-formed and unsearched ideas. It also encourages timidity and shame. It discourages self-confidence.
“Illiteracy holds people back from having economic powers. You are never going to amount to much if you cannot read. Our goal is to establish mini literacy centres in communities all over Lagos to get struggling readers the extra help and attention they need to succeed at school and life. Also, Nigeria’s development will be stalled with high level of illiterates. We have remained a third world country for so long. We need to set up literacy centres in every part of the country,” she said.