Prampram Reads: One man's big dream for kids in Prampram

BY: Linda Safoa Antwi

In a country where so many things can cause us to throw our hands up in despair, it is refreshing to know that there some people who have not lost hope and are willing to do their bit to make Ghana a better place.

These are the people who are not waiting for the government to do it all but are taking initiative to improve their communities and their people.

And one of them is journalist, Anny Osabutey. He is a man who has such a passion for Prampram and its development and anyone who follows him on social media or interacts with him will know that.

He is on a mission to brand Prampram as a tourism hub and over the past months has been busy touting all the attractions the place has to offer.

Now he is taking up another initiative, perhaps the most important, to get children in the community and its environs, to develop an interest in reading and he calls this "Prampram Reads."

Prampram Reads is a bi-monthly reading clinic for children in Prampram and its environs.

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According to the alumnus of Columbia University in New York, the main aim is to ensure that the kids develop an appetite for books, improve their vocabulary and build their confidence.

"I am a living testimony of what reading can do and I believe there are lots of people with skills who can be better but need the push. If you can speak well, you can compete in any space that you find yourself and that’s what this project is about," Anny said.

On how the whole idea for Prampram Reads came about, Anny, who is the Communications Director of the National Petroleum Authority explained that the idea came to him while he was in Columbia.

"I spent part of my time teaching some of the kids in the Harlem area, where the school is. Most of the kids were either having trouble reading or had teen parents who didn’t go to school, so I decided to give them two hours of my time, twice a week.

"So when I came back and with the advice from my friend Nana Damoah Of Dakpabli publishers, I decided to replicate same here at home and of course in Prampram," he stated.

He stated that for months, he thought about it for months because he was not too sure how everything would go. His issue was not about the books, which he was more than willing to supply, it was more about whether people would show up.

Eventually, he decided to go for it and started putting plans into place. "We scouted for venues and wrote to the church in Prampram but after a word with my pastor at Covenant Family Community Church in Prampram, he willingly agreed for us to use the premises.

"We put the poster up on social media but then we also realised that not every parent is on social media, so we printed it out and gave it to a cab driver friend who shared the material on our behalf.

"Then the calls started coming. One resident after the other started calling and by the time we were halfway through, the anticipated numbers had gone up. So we just went ahead to do it," he disclosed.

The first edition of Prampram Reads came off on Saturday, October 13 and had about 55 kids were in attendance. As Anny puts, it was a success.

"It was our first and we got some insight into how to categorise the kids into age groups. We also grouped them into those who can read but need help, those who can’t read but have the hunger to do so and those that we needed to work on from a clean slate.

"The goal is this; we do not want to judge anyone, we want everyone to know it’s possible that they can read. The parents were very excited and even assisted their children."

The second edition took place on Saturday, November 3 and targeted kids not only from Prampram but from Dawhenya and Community 25.

On Saturday, November 17, Prampram Reads 3 will come off at the same venue. For two hours, Anny and his team of volunteers including teachers, a behavioural analyst and even the parents will help the children to read books from authors from Ghana and the African continent as well as from the West so they can broaden their knowledge.

This is a self-financed project although Anny said two people had supported him with funds to buy the books.

For Anny Osabutey, doing this is fulfilling and he hopes that his one key dream will come to pass soon.

"Eventually, we want to make sure we put up a library where the kids can go and read after school. Who knows, hopefully we can get these kids to publish a book," he said.

There is a saying that if you want to hide something from the African, put it in a book but for Anny Osabutey and his volunteers, the hope is that nothing will be hidden from these children as they instill the joy of reading and discovery in them.

He needs all of our support.