A United State-based educationist and Lead Volunteer, Coach for Teachers with Vision, (NGO} Mrs. Oluwatoyin Mathilda Okimi has declared that her long time passion to give back to the society especially in the area of child education influenced her to open kiddies’ library in Ekiti state.
The first kiddies library was launched on Thursday, June 9 in Ado, Ekiti, the State capital.
The new library located at the popular Adebayo road is equipped with state-of-the art modern learning equipment, books and other instructional materials for the use of today’s kids and young adults.
At the launching, Mrs Okimi, a former journalist told newsmen that:
“The whole idea started from Ekiti State some years ago where I worked with few teachers as a journalist in the Programs Department at the Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State.
“There, I wasn’t very particularly impressed with what I saw based on my interactions because I saw a lot of gaps in the teachers training programs and I know that we can’t teach today’s kids the way we were taught in the past. If we do that, then, we rob them of tomorrow and so the burden of training teachers was born”.
Continuing, the Usi Ekiti-born educationist said;
“I realized that one can’t effect a change from outside, so I went into education and when I had the opportunity in a different environment, I now took the initiative since charity begins at home bringing the vision here. I’ve being doing this for about eleven going to 12 years now. Aside from that passion I was trained for, I know it is doable, it is practicable and it is workable I’ve done it and I feel there is no other way than to bring it back here to this same community where this passion started. Because there are so many issues to be solved in Nigeria and Africa and nobody is going to do it for us. Our kids need to start thinking about all these problems and solving them”
She expressed optimism that the project which kick started in Ekiti would soon be extended to other parts of the country.
Explaining further, the Lead Volunteer stressed that the reason why innovative education is important at the present was that there are so many problems around us in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large noting that the earlier people start creating a mindset for the kids to solve problems the better.
“It is not until they become adults and so this innovation with a vision has a library because we know that one fundamental thing about solving problem is learning how to read. When you learn how to read and you have read wide about other continents of the world, then you know more about the activities of people living before you, what they have done in their generation, you can apply some things from them to fit today’s realities using technology
According to her, “The library is free as part of my giving back to the community however they would pay a token to be part of innovation club because the innovation lab is consumables so we need to keep buying some of those items which is going to be made available when they start to register.
Speaking on the facilities available at the center, Okimi said; “We have an innovation lab where kids can come in, think about a problem, create some ideas to solve a particular problem they have identified. Innovation lab is for solving problems. We have humanities lab where they read all the people who had invented one thing or the other. They would see the challenges and obstacles on their ways but they didn’t give up and by so doing, they connect the past to the present and then make projections for the future.
“We have the pre-school/kindergatten library also because we don’t want to leave the little kids behind. This is because the best of creativity and imagination occurs between when a child was born and age7. So, the pre-school room is where the kids explore and make sense of the world around them through playing. So we have exploratory materials which is the best way for kids to learn and not just writing or memorizing and not being able to apply the knowledge. In short, we don’t want to leave any part. We are focusing on k 12 because we know when the foundation is built, the rest becomes easy and for kids to know that education is not a waste. Education is supposed to proffer solutions to problems out there”
She lamented the dwindling reading culture amongst youths which according to her, informed the reason why the library service is free of charge saying;
“if you want people to read, you won’t place a cost on it and that is why the reading section is free.
On the importance of books to learning Kids she admonished children to pick interest in reading not only to pass exams but read for the sake of reading.
Her words, “Just love and enjoy reading. Identify something you like and just go for it. Readers are leaders. Books take you anywhere. You can be here and know what happens everywhere in the world. That’s only if you love reading and we cannot talk about literacy if there is no book rich environment”
Last word for the kids.
“The world is waiting for them (kids) to manifest and they have potentials to do anything they want to do but they need to take care of the foundation. Be equipped so that when their time of manifestation comes, they are properly ready to take on the whole world this is about building their foundation and many of us had invested into this and their generation is waiting for them to emerge. I want to encourage them to take advantage of this initiative and build energy and soar like the eagle”