A series of books specifically designed to boost literacy in Southern African countries is now approved for use in both Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The Happy Readers series of educational books are specifically created for children living in Africa, Over the last two years they have been put in over 500 schools in Zimbabwe, and the Zambian ministry of education has now approved them.
Originally created in the 1980s, the series teaches literacy through word repetition. It uses characters, animals and settings
“Many book series are European or American in content and African children, especially those living in rural areas, can find it hard to understand the word meanings or the way of life depicted. This makes learning harder,” said Emma O’Beirne, who re-launched the series with her husband Conor two years ago after seeing illiteracy rates skyrocket in Zimbabwe.
Since the series was relaunched, nearly every private school in Zimbabwe has bought them – but despite being more affordable than the alternatives, lack of funding is hindering the program’s potential.
We really have no future if the children cannot read.
“Everyone from the headmasters to ministry staff, to the villagers understands the importance of being able to read and are incredibly keen to see the projects work, but it is still hard to raise funding,” O’Beirne said.
“Wherever we can, we try and scale back costs on a reading project to ensure that funding goes on books. We really have no future if the children cannot read,” O’Beirne said.