Library builds minds and improves literacy in Nigeria

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

Thanks to Sr. Immaculata, the library now serves over 3,000 students and staff. Through the power of reading, children now have access to books filled with knowledge.

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Sr. Immaculata works to improve the literacy rate in Nigeria by obtaining funds to construct a children's library and the learning materials to fill it.

One of the most consistent factors in life is our ability to access reading material. It's so common we don't even think about it. We can go to the grocery store and pick up a magazine. We can go to a bookstore to buy a novel. We can buy a book with one click of an e-reader. We can spend time with our children in the local library. But what if we couldn't?

This is often the case in Nigeria due to its large population and lack of funding for education. According to the World Factbook, the Nigeria literacy rate is around 60% (2015). This means over 75 million people are illiterate. Sr. Immaculata Njoku, Sisters of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (EHJ) is working to help close this gap and improve literacy rates across Nigeria.

When Sr. Immaculata began ASEC’s Sisters Leadership Development Initiative (SLDI) program in 2007 she became surrounded by the luxury of being able to pick up reading material at her leisure. However, she understood how fortunate she was to have this opportunity when so many people, especially children in Nigeria, do not. That’s when Sr. Immaculata devised a plan to give back to her community.

Sr. Immaculata understood that there was most likely a correlation between literacy rates and lack of access to reading materials in Nigeria. So, when she graduated from the program in 2009, she went to work with a goal to spread reading across Nigeria.

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Eucharistic Heart of Jesus primary school students reading in the new library.

Eucharistic Heart of Jesus primary school students reading in the new library.

Sr. Immaculata helped to build a library for the students at Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Nursery and Primary School. To acquire funding for the school, Sr. Immaculata used her newfound management skills to help the Parents Teacher Association gather the funds to get the project of the ground. She says,

“...I consider myself lucky because only three schools in our area benefited from this initiative. I attribute the success to get funding from the skills I gained in SLDI training … I am happy our children have reading materials.”

Thanks to Sr. Immaculata, the library is filled with learning materials and serves over 3,000 students and staff. But this library is more than just a building, its a symbol of hope. The library encourages all who enter to experience the power of literacy, knowledge and education.

To this day, the school and the Association continue their efforts to maintain the schools library as they continue to upgrade it. Sr. Immaculata has also been there along the way to ensure that each EHJ student has the ability to get a book in their hand.

Help a Sister improve Nigeria literacy rates

Although this story may seem extraordinary, its not. There are so many religious sisters across Africa are working to improve literacy rates in Nigeria and all of sub-Saharan Africa. ASEC is continually working to help educate these religious sisters to enable them to improve literacy with their projects. So, next time you pick up a book, remember that a religious sister is working to help others have the same opportunity.

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This article is addressing the following UN Sustainable Development Goal(s):

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Sr. Immaculata Njoku, EHJ

Profiled in article
SLDI Alumna - Nigeria  

Briana Ryan

ASEC Web Content Intern - USA  

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