By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK A second set of an excellent series of new readers in Namibian primary schools, “Writing for Kids” was last Thursday launched at the NamPower Convention Center by USAID. The first series was launched in January last year. Speaking on behalf of the American government, Gary Newton, USAID’s director in Namibia, expressed the hope that the books would be widely read. “The books tell touching, topical and important stories, are beautifully illustrated, and attractively designed and presented. All the stories are instructive, entertaining and hopeful,” Newton said and elaborated as follows on the content: “In Kaushiwetu’s decision, with the help of her grandmother Kuku Gwandengu, Kaushi makes the right decision to stay away from a ‘hawk’ of a man, one Mr Shoombe, a cuca shop owner, who’s trying to entice her. The last illustration is great, it shows Kuku Gwandengu envisioning Kaushi as a university graduate!” Newton further said, “In Saving Ndavulwa, a book-loving 10-year-old, who has no parents, and whose toe sticks out of his worn shoes, is abused by an Aunt whose voice (is) loud enough to wake a sleeping crocodile. With support from a caring teacher and a neighbour, Ndavulwa becomes stronger and more confident. The last illustration is wonderful, it shows Ndavulwa being congratulated by his teacher for earning the best Grade 4 results at his school!” In the book, Kaume remembers his mother, a young man who has lost both his parents, and as a result, is being teased by his classmates for being an orphan, is helped by a perceptive and caring teacher to pursue his love of animals and story-telling to the point where he gains confidence and is seen by his classmates as an interesting and entertaining kid. “In Mbaita and the giant, a clever monkey and then a kind stranger come to the aide of Mbaita and rescue her from a truly scary looking giant with red eyes, no front teeth and an enormous belly. In Luboni, the stepchild the love between a father and his daughter prevails over a wicked stepmother and her lazy and nasty daughters and in Inheritance, a wise village elder mediates a conflict over inheritance that is about to tear an otherwise wonderful family apart; tradition and fairness are balanced, and flexibility, reason and love-of-family win out in this book with a happy and hopeful ending,” he said. Newton also expressed his gratitude to all the writers, artists and illustrators that have been involved in the creative process. “USAID acknowledges the fundamental importance of readers and textbooks to learner performance. That is why we worked with different institutions and groups over the past three years to provide more than 50 000 books to Namibian schools. USAID support for this “Writing for Kids” activity and the BES project is in the context of our long-term bilateral assistance relationship with the Ministry of Education,” Newton said.
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