Transforming Lives: How Reading Corners are Empowering Children in Gambella, Ethiopia

Tuesday 28 March 2023

Story summary: 

Goa is a 13-year-old boy and a 4th grade student at a primary school that is supported  by a project in partnership with Education Above All Foundation’s Educate A Child programme and Save the Children Korea. Goa’s family are subsistence farmers who engage in small-scale farming and livestock raising in Ethiopia’s Gambella region.

 “Increased Access to Quality Basic Education for Out of School Children in Gambella Region, Ethiopia” project established reading corners in 30 primary schools that are transforming children’s lives by helping them discover the joy of reading. Through this project, over 35,000 children have benefited from the reading corner and high quality learning materials supplied by Save the Children to the schools and trained teachers, these were able to develop literacy and reading skills as a result of this project.

Strong quotes: 

"Save the Children has established reading corners at school and supplied us with storybooks that help us improve our reading and writing skills."

"I enjoy reading the beautiful storybooks provided by Save the Children. I improved my reading ability through reading the storybooks. "My Agnoac language teacher Kiru also helps me with my readings."

"Our biggest concern is the lack of enough reading space for all, and there is also a shortage of reading books."

How is Save the Children helping (or did we help) that child or family: 

  • Save the Children built and furnished more than 206 classrooms in 30 primary schools in three refugee camps and host communities.
  • Save the Children provided children with different learning materials that enabled them to regularly attend school.
  • Save the Children, in partnership with the regional and woreda education offices, is helping schools provide quality education by providing methodological training to primary school teachers on literacy and numeracy and supplying them with supplementary reading books.

Goa’s story in his own words (Quotes): 

"My name is Goa; I am thirteen years old, and I have two eldest brothers and a younger sister. I am in 4th grade this year at a primary school in the nearby Abobo village in Gambella Region, Ethiopia.

The Agnoac and English languages are my two favorite subjects in the class. I particularly like the Agnoac language because it is easy for me to learn and understand. I also like my math lessons. Our math teacher teaches us additions, subtraction, shapes, and measurements through different games. The games are fun and easy to learn. I am now able to easily multiply and make additions to numbers in the shortest time possible.

Save the Children provided us with a lot of support, such as school uniforms, school bags, learning materials, and supplementary reading books. They established the reading corner in our school. I enjoy reading the lovely storybooks provided by Save the Children. Before this reading corner was established, we had difficulty reading and writing, and the only reading materials we had were the textbooks that the school provided. Now, with this reading corner, I am reading and writing better, and am able to improve my reading skills each day.

This support helped me improve my school performance and enabled me to improve my reading and writing skills. Each day, through reading the books, we learn new things and improve our reading skills.

"Atock" [about good manners] is my favorite storybook. I want to be a well-mannered and kind person myself. We wish we could be supplied with more reading books for our school library, so that enough books would be available for everyone and it would ease the shortage of books we have in school.

Save the Children has also constructed new classrooms and furnished them. Now we learn in safe and clean classrooms.

Both of my parents have always encouraged me to go to school and do better in my studies. When I grow up, I want to be a doctor. I know I need to study hard to achieve my dream. Our biggest concern right now is the shortage of storybooks, and the library does not have enough space for all the students here.”

Background / Project information 

Despite the fact that more children are attending school in Gambella today than ever before, many lack basic skills of reading and computation. Through our joint project with Educate A Child programme, Save the Children assisted schools to improve the quality of education by providing literacy and numeracy training to primary school teachers, supplying supplementary reading materials to target schools, establishing reading corners and increasing community awareness on the importance of education for children. The teacher’s training has enabled them to develop new skills and techniques on play based teach to help children learn letters, read and comprehend better through play. 

So far, the project trained some 285 teachers on literacy and numeracy boost in 30 target schools in 11 districts and 3 refugee camps in Gambella Region. The project has constructed 206 classrooms and 52 latrines to encourage enrolment and retention, and enhance the learning environment of 30 primary schools in Gambella.