By Dipo Olowookere
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm, the UBA Foundation, continued on its quest to educate and empower African youths as it visited Our Lady of Mercy Girls Secondary School in Nairobi to donate over 500 copies of the book The Fishermen (by Chigozie Obioma), under the UBA Foundation’s Read Africa Initiative.
The initiative which was launched in 2011 with the aim of encouraging students to improve their vocabulary and communication skills through reading, has been changing the lives of African students across the continent for six years. Through the initiative, the UBA Foundation is helping rekindle the dwindling reading culture amongst African youths as they pursue their education. Over a hundred thousand books and educational materials have been donated to various schools across Africa as UBA Foundation continues to traverse the continent, contributing positively to the development of African youths.
This week, the foundation visited Emma High School in Kampala, Uganda with its Read Africa initiative before going to Kenya to read to the students at Our Lady of our Mercy School. The High school for girls which was founded in 2008 by Mrs Angwenyi with just 32 girls has grown into a student body of over 500 with donations from both private individuals and the Kenyan Ministry of Education. The school started off with girls who were very under priviledged and living in conditions that were not conducive to education. Less than a decade later, some of these students have gone on to Universities to pursue their dreams.
Present at the drive were the CEO of the UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, UBA Kenya MD/CEO Isaac Mwige, the school principle Mrs Angwenyi and the students who got an opportunity to interact and read with the UBA Executives, sharing their future aspirations and ambitions as they engaged Executives in a Q& A session.
Atta, told the students that the UBA Foundation was committed to uplifting the lives of the societies within which they operated by creating dynamic educational platforms for future generations on the continent. She also encouraged the students to read voraciously. “The pursuit of knowledge should be a lifelong activity that starts at a very young age. You should read all types of books so that you can explore and shape your own narrative,” she said.
UBA Managing Director/CEO Isaac Mwige further encouraged the students to cultivate an interest in reading not just the academic text books but also material outside of their course work in order to acquire knowledge. “Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face,” he added.
The Principal of Our Lady of Mercy Girls Secondary School Mrs. Angwenyi thanked the UBA Foundation for their contribution and said that it was very timely as the school is currently placing emphasis on the value of reading not just to prepare for exams but reading to prepare for life. ‘What UBA Foundation has brought to you today is worth more than money. The drive today will ensure that you all understand that reading is an essential part of living’ she said.
The Kenyan Ministry of Education’s Chief Education Officer who was also present applauded the initiative saying: ’books allow us to expand our minds and enables us to keep abreast in all fields of human endeavor. The Students of Our Lady of our Mercy will benefit greatly from reading the books donated by UBA Foundation today’
The UBA foundation donated books to the school library of Our Lady of Mercy and funding to pay for the accommodation of ten girls at the school dormitory.
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Africa’s global bank, is committed to being a socially responsible company and role model for all businesses in Africa. UBA understands that there is a need for a social contract between the bank, the communities in which it operates, and its people. To this end, in 2006, UBA became the first bank in Nigeria to institute a foundation, the UBA Foundation. As the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the UBA Group, UBA Foundation is committed to the socio-economic betterment of communities across the African continent focusing on development in the areas of Environment, Education, Economic Empowerment and Special Projects.
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