Photo credit: iAfrica - Photo: 2024

Mobile Library, First of Its Kind, Launched in Democratic Republic of Congo

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | 11 June 2024 (IDN) — If you don’t go to libraries, they will come to you. This is the concept behind Kitabus, a mobile library designed to promote reading to a wide audience. The name “Kitabus” is derived from “Kitabu,” which means book in Swahili, and “Bus” as a means of transport.

An initiative of the French Institute of Bukavu in Eastern DRC, the book project aims to promote basic education in the region through books that align with the Congolese education curriculum.

It offers a varied collection of novels, fables, manga, manuals, and more to promote access to reading. Upon arriving at this school located in the heart of the capital of South Kivu, students devour several pages during two hours of reading, both inside the bus and in the outdoor area set up in the courtyard of this private institution.

Kitabus addresses potential issues of mobility or the low interest in reading in a city of 3 million inhabitants, but which has fewer than five physical public libraries.

These students are accustomed to finding only textbooks in their school library, but with Kitabus, they are spoiled for choice. Once inside, they don’t want to get off the bus, captivated by books they are used to seeing only on TV shows.

“At this moment, I am reading ‘L’atelier de Roxanne.’ I feel comfortable and happy to be here and see the books. It will help me write, read well, consult, and love books,” said Bizimana Johanna, a pupil at Le Progres School Complex.

Preparing a generation

For ENABEL, a development agency of the Belgian agency for international cooperation which supports this project, eliminating poverty in all its forms begins with basic education, the prime channel for preparing a generation capable of addressing the huge developmental challenges in the near future.

For Patrick Zezé IRENGE, a school teacher, stimulating a love of reading in children and young people symbolizes growth beyond learning, developing vocabulary, and improving oral expression.

“We supported this project because we are convinced that young people need to learn a lot and should have this culture of reading, sharing, and exchanging to enable their development,” said Patrick.

“This means that after this activity, our children will be able to use manuals, and this project is here to foster a love of reading in our children at the Le Progrès School Complex,” said Modeste Bushishi, the director of Le Progres School Complex. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo credit: iAfrica

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