Former Big Brother Africa Reality Show winner Cherise Makubale has opened the first ever community library set within the Cherise Kids Park in Lusaka’s Northmead area.
Makubale said the culture of reading has become a challenge in Zambia especially with the influx of technology.
She said video games and cell phones have occupied children’s time.
‘It is sad when you see these children texting each other in abbreviated words and letters that to them make sense now but i wonder how they are going to present themselves in future when they are all grown up and they have to write a CV or make a presentation,’ Ms. Makubale said.
She said illiteracy levels are still a concern and hopes that by opening up this Library, her organisation can contribute to lowering these levels.
‘We know accessibility to such facilities is challenging and that is why we have decided to make the library free of charge and encourage surrounding communities groups, churches and orphanages to register with us,’ she said.
She has since appealed to the various Members of Parliament to set up such facilities in their various constituencies.
‘I know that play parks and libraries are not really the first item on your Constituency Development Fund list but i urge you to include them because as much as every child has a right to clean water, health facilities and shelter, they also have a right to education and the right to play,’ Ms. Makubale said.
And officiating at the same function, Education Minister Michael Kaingu said as a nation, Zambia has realised that the reading culture has gone down and one of the reasons being that libraries are not available in most places.
Dr Kaingu said this has resulted in illiteracy levels scaling up due to non availability of reading materials.
He said libraries play a very important role in learning institutions as well as communities describing them as a hub of knowledge and information.
‘Community libraries are important in the sense that they address the issue of equity. These are institutions where people who are not able to afford reading materials for themselves can go and access them,’ Dr Kaingu said.