Giselle, 12, and Rosine, 11, are two students at College George Fox de Kagarama primary school in Kigali. They have been attending the library since it first opened in 2008 and come weekly to read and check out new books.
Giselle’s family has several books at home, but most are in French and more for her parent’s than for her. Rosine’s parents have a few books as well, but she says her parents don’t read very often, if they do it is usually a dictionary or a Bible. Since finding out about the library, their parent’s have been very supportive in their coming to spend time at the library and appreciate the books that they have brought home to share with them.
Giselle’s favorite book is the classic Snow White. She says she likes to sit at the kitchen table and read. Often she’ll share the books she takes home from the library with her brother and sister who are too young to attend school, even her mother likes to spend a few minutes in the evening looking at books with her children.Giselle thinks she has read over 100 books from the library and would like to read more.
Rosine’s favourites books include Zoobooks publications and other non-fiction books that talk about science and the world around her. The Diving Dolphin is one of Rosine’s favorites. She had never seen dolphins before and was amazed at how interesting and intelligent they are.
Rosine has found out about different occupations and has created new interests for her. She would like being an astronaut and flying through space, but if that doesn’t work out, she says she’d like to be a leader for her community by becoming a governor. Giselle would like to become a doctor because she would like to take care of people who are sick. She knows that Rwanda needs more doctors because there are not enough right now. She says she’s learned about some science and healthcare from the books in the reference section of the library.
Both girls attended Peer Mediation training and they say it has helped them create better friendships at school. Rosine was able to share some of the things she learned from the training with her parents including the importance of parents not punishing their children too severely with violence. Giselle says that she now has the knowledge of what to say to someone she is in conflict with in order to stop the conflict from getting worse.
Rosine, who scored first overall in her class last year, will be attending secondary school in Butare this year. Giselle will be going to school in Nyanza. The books they read here have helped them build their vocabulary and that has helped them with their English learning in school. Both are excited to start at their new schools and begin their secondary education. They will be farther away and unable to attend the library on a weekly basis, but during the holidays, they plan to come back to read more books. Rosine wishes that the library would be open everyday so she could still come to checkout books on the weekends.
The girls also had several suggestions to improve the library including creating a time during the week when children could come to listen to someone read a book and a time to go over more difficult vocabulary together with a librarian. There are more girls attending the library right now. When asked about why she thought that was the case Rosine says, “Boys spend more time playing football and say they don’t have time to read books. But I hate football and would much rather read a book.”
Below are pictures of Rosine (in yellow) and Giselle (in purple).