A reading culture emerges at Maranyundo Girls School

Considering 1 in 5 adults in the world is not literate and 2 out of 3 of them are women, International Literacy Day (September 8 annually) is a big deal! So today we are going to talk about books at Maranyundo.

Step on to the Maranyundo Girls School campus for any period of time and you will see it. Serendipitous glances during class breaks, walking on air to lunch with their heads in a whole different world, curled up together in a shady spot. The students have all fallen in love…with books!

After lunch, during free time, girls flock to the library and make a beeline for the two aisles of young adult fiction. Reaching over each other, they grab excitedly for the books on the shelves. One student giggles as she finds an interesting book. She quickly untangles herself from the fray and moves to a less busy corner of the library to check and see if the book is as interesting as its cover portends. Indecisive, she makes her way back to the crowd and continues on her hunt. All around, students are finding their choices and heading to check them out with the librarian. Some of the most popular books such as Harry Potter, computer books, or the graphic novels in the Aya series are checked in for bare minutes before they are checked out again and carried out of the library by another excited student. Many of the book’s covers, those that are a particular favorite with the girls, are worn white from so many hands and hours of reading and the bindings are beginning to let go.

The first few years of the school’s existence, students did not seem to read for pleasure. Books were reserved more for academic study. But each time the Maranyundo Initiative board members visit the school, they have brought some young adult novels with them. The girls’ excitement about books seems to be growing by leaps and bounds as the number of available books has increased.

During a recent Friday school assembly, three girls were asked to give short book reports. One of the youngest students from S1 was so enthused about her book, James and the Giant Peach, that she proceeded to outline the entire plot line for the entire school. Students carry books everywhere they go, even reading while they walk between classes or on their way to lunch. Maranyundo students are very busy with class time, study time, tutoring, extracurricular activities, and sports so they find any available free time to enjoy the pleasures of reading for fun.

If you are interested in helping the Maranyundo Initiative supply more books to the Maranyundo Girls School Library, you can purchase books off of our Amazon Gift List . You can also learn more about how support the Maranyundo Initiative here.