Yes we could and yes we did!
On 16th June 2011, courtesy of Storymoja Publishers and the British Council, approximately 84,300 Kenyans set the national record for “Most people reading out loud from the same text in different locations on the same day.” Children from schools across the country gathered together at their respective parade grounds to read the story ‘Lydia’s gift.’ Readings were done in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and as far as Mbita and Msambweni. This was made possible through the British Council’s connecting classrooms program.
‘Lydia’s Gift’ was available online so Kenyans who were not at schools, could read out loud from wherever they were: offices, universities and there is one reported case of someone reading out loud at a cyber café! The story is about a street boy whose love for reading gives him the opportunity to have a better life off the streets. It was specially written by two street children and reflects the theme of the Day of the African Child, which also falls on 16th June.
The reading session launched the beginning of a three-year reading campaign, dubbed the Kenyan Reading Revolution, aimed at highlighting the importance for reading for pleasure in the lives of Kenyans. Next in line: a Reading Marathon. Kenyans (that means you) are encouraged to read and donate as many books as they can from now till the Storymoja Hay Festival (16th-18th September). The donations will go towards filling the schools and libraries in need with books. The 20 minutes reading will go toward filling your day with pleasure. Let’s spark our nation’s collective imagination and get reading!