Chimee Adioha talks about the upcoming children’s book festival in Owerri
Chimee Adioha is a member of the Read Aloud Foundation, the mother to the Owerri Children’s book festival. The foundation was created in 2013 to cater for the educational needs of children. Their visits range from primary schools to orphanage homes, donating books and teaching the essence of reading, writing and art. They called it the literacy project. The foundation is made up of a team of young university undergraduates in Imo State who feel they have to put some change in the lives of children. Here, he tells us about the foundation and the coming children’s book event in the town of Owerri.
Who funds your projects?
We support ourselves. We are students, yes, but one tenth of our pocket money goes to the children through book and writing materials. We know the government won’t carry every single thing on their heads, therefore, we organized ourselves. Last year, we received book donations from England and from Nigeria sent by friends who support what we do.
How are preparations going?
The coming children’s book festival has received little recognition online as we set up a site www.rafoundation.wordpress.com where all the details of the coming event are listed. The event date is set to be sometime late October. The theme of the event is ‘What to read and what not to read’ and we will have a keynote speaker talk to the children about this topic. It is so encouraging that some individuals and organizations are willing to partner as we are already receiving book donations. We hope to involve schools, art/cultural centers, educational institutes, bookshops and libraries, and certain others in Owerri. The only discouraging aspect is to see such bodies who are supposed to be willing to render support reject or ignore your letters. The event proper will feature; book sales, art display, gift splash, book signings, pop corn, book giveaways, photo sessions and music. We also invite poetry performances from children as an active participant gains more books and gifts. The event is planned to be a mini one due to our average budget, but yet, we want to make something stand appropriately in the society. We are giving opportunity to schools to come along with 5 of their pupils as they would get to be engaged in writing classes, reading exercises, fine art, and fun. We encourage the children to bring their art works and essays to the event. We have tagged the essay topic ‘The Imo State of My Dream’. Parents can also bring their children to the festival venue in time as entry is free but limited to a certain number. Our guests will include Uche Peter Umez– NLNG prize winner for children’s writing, Nnenna Ihebom– writer and civil servant and others in the creative industries who are specialists in issues concerning children. These guests will have their books at the festival bookstore for possible purchases by visitors.
Our major target though is to make sure that every single child at the festival venue goes home with a book. We also invite adults who can only have access to the bookstore. Books are promised to come with a heavy discount when you buy at the festival venue. Books will draw from children’s literature, adult fiction, inspirational and motivational books as well as textbooks and educational books.
Why set up the Children’s Book Festival?
It is one of our foundation’s missions to create events that will bring children together; events supporting literacy and art; not events that bring children to dance and win prizes and go. It is an event we have decided to do for the children, for the community, for Owerri, and for Nigeria. We are using this opportunity to encourage children, to improve their reading culture. We pray that our first event will yield as many fruits as possible as to encourage more donors and contributors of children’s lives.
How can people donate books?
We are always happy at a receipt of any book donations or art materials because we know the happiness is extended to the children. Therefore, call +2348162989308 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org whenever you want to donate, sponsor or partner as regards to the coming children’s event as we have many features mapped out for the children’s event. The book donations will go straight to the children on the event day. We will make sure that your name and contact is printed on the cover of any of the books you donated.