The Closing Statement

How to get South Sudan into books?


By Akim Mugisa

Widespread illiteracy and a shortage of books make reading a rare pursuit in South Sudan. Some are doing their best to change that.

“The love for reading and burden of carrying books on journeys forced me to open a bookshop in South Sudan,” said Awak Bior in her Leaves Bookshop in Juba, October 27.

“The love for reading and burden of carrying books on journeys forced me to open a bookshop in South Sudan,” said Awak Bior in her Leaves Bookshop in Juba, October 27.

Avid readers in South Sudan have the odds stacked against them. Most read books borrowed from friends, or get their hands on one of the few copies sold by street vendors. Occasional English-language books are available in government institutions and there is a small group of bookshops that instead sell school books rather than novels or non-fiction.

Awak Bior, founder of the Leaves Bookshop in Juba, is trying to boost access to good books. Reading culture in South Sudan is poor due to lack of access to books as well as a lack of role models that encourage others to read,” said Awak.

Her statement was underscored by the fact that more foreigners than locals perused the shelves of her shop. She said she was prompted to open the store seven months ago, tired of lugging piles of books into South Sudan when she traveled.

Awak, whose Leaves Bookshop stocks new and used books, said the government should establish good schools where children can access books.

The country’s poor track record in training the next generation of readers is shown by the country’s illiteracy rate, among the worst in the world. Statistics from the Ministry of General Education and Instruction show that 27 percent of men and 19 percent of women can read.

In another development, the South Sudan READS is gearing up with new ways of bringing people closer to books. The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the disseminations of the truth

SSREADS is dedicated to improving and empowering lives through education, community development education-related activities at the grassroots level and constructing libraries internationally in a more inclusive, informative and objective oriented manner.

Horn Of Africa Phase One Project’s Objective; The SSREADS organization is dedicated to achieving the following goals:   Establish a functioning library filled with a variety of books, stockpile a multitude of school supplies for use within the library, and hold basic literacy classes instructed by real teacher

Promote education, development, and construct libraries internationally, and dissemination of knowledge within various fields to the meet the needs of the South Sudan population from Gambella region through South Sudan.

Establish libraries that create wide-spread awareness of the importance of reading and advantages of acquiring information and disseminating to the growth of the community.

Create a link to collaborate with various higher education institutions and improve the quality of education through schools, the provision of education equipment, furniture, textbooks, and learning materials.   To introduce non-formal education and skill training to both and urban population without formal schooling with opportunities to further empower individual’s participation in economic and social life.

Social and mentorship support for the purpose of personal growth, creativity, leadership skills, self-reliance and enhanced capacities to South Sudanese people through active and interactive participation in learning and provision of high-quality education

Nurture and improve the quality of children’s lives by caring for, and educating orphans, street children, and physical/mentally disabled children to better their lives.

Support local communities or the targeted community to improve the education process or systems that aim to promote women’s health, gender sensitization, and community health in embracing technological tools in the proposed project locations.

Establish a mini research center that analyzes culture and traditions that activate and support learning at ease using available and user-friendly local materials to ensure habits and values.

These goals will all be accomplished under the library of South Sudan READS which will comprise;

A library section; establish a functioning library filled with a variety of books, school supplies, classes & mini research center. An incubation center for innovative and creative education projects



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