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In Zambia, Encouragement from a Friend Helps Nchimunya Conquer Her Fears

August 01, 2013

Literacy Africa Zambia

Nchimunya never liked English class. Knowing that she could not read well and afraid that she would be called on by the teacher to read in front of the entire class, she would sit silently and never participate by choice.

Her friend Romney, on the other hand, enjoyed every minute. He loved reading, and had spent countless hours in the Itebe Primary School library since it opened last year. He also took books home often, reading them in his spare time.

Occationally, Nchimunya would join Romney in the library, and he would read aloud so that she could follow along. Nchimunya loved listening to the stories, and was eventually inspired to borrow a few books from the library herself. At home, she asked her older sister to help with the more difficult words, and as time went on her reading skills improved. After a while Nchimunya even began to enjoy reading on her own.

These days, Nchimunya spends much of her spare time at the library and borrows books regularly. She even started volunteering as a librarian’s assistant—re-shelving books, sweeping the floors and helping her classmates find books they can enjoy. Together with Ronney, Nchimunya has also started a book club at Itebe Primary School that includes some of their classmates. The students gather from time to time to share stories they have read and recommend books to each other.

Outside of school, Nchimunya—now an avid reader—has also begun to share her love of reading with other people in her village. In the evenings she reads aloud to her family and regularly participates at church in front of her friends and neighbors.

Nchimunya is no longer afraid of being called on in English class even to read in front of the class. She has borrowed over twenty books from the library, and been inspired  by the stories inside them. Her favorite—the tale of an honest policeman who refused bribes in pursuit of a promotion—reminds her to be honest and hard working in everything she does.

Learn more about our work in Zambia.