Drop everything, read something

People read at the DEAR Day launch at Sepi Mukombe Mpambara Public Library in Kabale Town. PHOTO by ROBERT MUHEREZA

The Ministry of Education and Sports, in partnership with Peace Corps Uganda, on Mar 26, launched the national DEAR Day with an objective of promoting a reading culture and love for learning on national scale.

DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. It requires everyone in schools, homes and any other community organisation across Uganda to put down everything one is doing and immediately begin reading something for at least 20 minutes.

On March 10, the ministry issued a notice to all chief administrative officers, town clerks and executive director of Kampala Capital City Authority to prepare for DEAR Day by alerting all the school heads and members of the public through any available means.

In Kabale Town, residents and traders stopped at Sepi Mukombe Mpambara public library to celebrate the day. The director of Mpambara Cox Foundation that houses Sepi Mukombe Mpambara public library, Mr Enos Tweteise, says he used radio announcements to mobilise for the day.

“We received about 200 local residents and traders on DEAR Day that sat in our public library and read different books and newspapers for about 30 minutes. I thank the organisers for their vision to send our powerful message about the importance of education and general literacy among the community members,” Mr Tweteise said.

Most read material
Mr Tweteise said text books on politics, novels on love and relationship and fiction were most read on the day. He also said reading materials on science and English were transported from his public library to four rural primary schools of Kasinde, Kengoma D, Rushaki and Kegoma M, where a total of 775 pupils benefited from the project.

Mr Tweteise said the activity involved silent reading for adults in public libraries, while reading and sharing the read stories was encouraged among the primary school pupils. He said his foundation shall always celebrate the day every year.

Mariam Kyomuhangi, a business lady and one of the participants in these activities, says the day reminded her of her school days where her teachers required everybody to be silent while in the school library. She also said she was delighted to read text books about the life of Nelson Mandela.

“I was also surprised to find newspapers in the public library because in our school days, in the rural sub-counties of Kabale in the 1980s, the library was strictly for textbooks,” Mr Kyomuhangi said.
Denis Mugambagye 12, a pupil at Kasinde Primary School, said the launch of DEAR Day in his school helped him read books he had never come across.