THE Digicel Foundation has joined local children's book authors Jana Bent and Kellie Magnus to bring greater focus to cultural books in schools as part of the Digicel Foundation's Read Across Jamaica initiative on May 8.
The activity, which is part of the foundation's plans to observe Jamaica's 50th anniversary, will see the team visiting select schools across the island to read from children's books, and the presentation of cultural books to teachers for use in their classes.
Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation Samantha Chantrelle said the initiative underscores her organisation's strong focus on empowering the youth through education and culture.
"... We are committed to not only improving the level of literacy in primary schools across Jamaica [but] also to recognising the importance of supporting initiatives to preserve our culture. Partnering with our local authors, therefore, helps us to fulfil these two important commitments of showing students how fun and beneficial it is to be able to read while learning about their culture," Chantrelle said.
At the same time, Magnus, founder of Jackmandora, a Caribbean children's media company, and author of the popular Little Lion series, said the importance of children seeing themselves and their world on the pages of local books should not be underestimated. "It's important for their self-esteem and their identity to have books written about their reality and their culture, and to meet authors who look like and sound like them," Magnus said.
Bent, co-author of Reggae Pickney, said she was looking forward to working with the Digicel Foundation to stir up some fun for the kids in these schools. "I'll be bringing my music and instruments, and we'll be doing some fun interactive learning while jamming to the best reggae for kids," she said.
The Digicel Foundation said staff volunteers were excited about the Read Across Jamaica initiative and were looking forward to turning out in their numbers to participate in this initiative.