Can you imagine growing up in a house without books? No stories of great adventures, brave heroes or happy endings. What if the characters remained on the pages because you couldn’t understand the words?
This is a daily reality for more than a third of the world’s primary school-aged children who are unable to read, write or count.* Illiteracy not only stops these children discovering the joy of reading, it also keeps them locked in a dangerous cycle of poverty.
But thanks to your support, 1.7 million children are able to tell a different story.
At the start of National Storytelling Week, we’re celebrating the awesome fact that Compassion-supported children are learning to read because of you! Thanks to the school fees, uniforms, books and additional literacy support your sponsorship provides, children are discovering an exciting world of stories in their classrooms and Compassion projects.
Let’s meet seven of these amazing kids.
12-year-old Precious has earnt the title ‘storyteller of the class’ as she loves borrowing books from the library at her Compassion project in Ghana. Her favourite story is Cinderella. “Of all the stories I have read, I like Cinderella the most. I have learnt many lessons from the story that I have been using to advise my friends,” says Precious, who’s determined to become a journalist when she grows up.
Sara won the ‘Tell a Story’ competition which was held by Compassion El Salvador and judged by nationally-renowned writers. Living in San Salvador, where gang violence and corruption is common place, Sara chose to write a story that was not just fun, but also gave an important message to her friends about the dangers around them.
We all have a favourite Bible story and for Joel in Peru his is the parable of the lost sheep. “I enjoy having a Bible because I learn many things about God. My favourite Bible story is about the lost sheep, because the shepherd shows his love towards that little sheep and searches for her,” says Joel. Thanks to your support, every Compassion-supported child receives an age-appropriate Bible.
Frehiwot discovered her love of reading after she joined her Compassion project. “I love reading storybooks as well as studying. Whenever I get free time, I read different books both in Amharic (the language spoken in Ethiopia) and English. I developed the habit of reading books after I got into this programme (Compassion project). I never had access to books before because it was not on my parent’s urgent needs list. Finding a book to read was something I could only dream about.”
Eight-year-old Merry Grace loves going to school where her favourite subject is English. When she gets home she wastes no time in taking out her books and completing her homework. “Saturday is my favourite day of the week,” says Merry Grace. This is the day she goes to her Compassion project where she looks forward to the different activities and letters from her sponsor. Though she still needs help with some of the words, she is always eager to hear a new story from her sponsor.
While she’s too young to read the words herself, Dayana’s mum loves reading Bible stories to her daughter. “Reading the word of God is such a comforting time for me. I enjoy reading the Bible to my little Dayana because God has commanded us to teach our kids all the time and at any age. It has strengthened our faith in God and our family relationship.”
Because Dayana’s mum is able to read, according to the United Nations, she is statistically more likely to send Dayana to school, and place a higher value on girl’s education.**
Eight-year-old Oscar and his friends look forward to reading time at their Compassion project. However, deciding what to read is difficult with such a wide selection of books. Thanks to a generous gift, Oscar’s project has built a toy library which includes several copies of each book. At least there won’t be any arguments over who gets to read it first!
Oscar finally picks a popup book about sea creatures to the delight of his friends who crowd round as he reads it.