Tourism Minister, Mrs. Zita Sabah Okaikoi has called on parents and teachers to inculcate the habit of reading in school children since it helps to mould and shape their future and that of the nation.
According to the minister, children who frequently read books are intellectually active and more knowledgeable than those who do not read. It is therefore imperative for parents and teachers to ensure that their children always read books that would improve their lives.
Speaking at the opening of the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO’s) Sustainable Tourism Eliminating Poverty (ST-EP) Thank You Library project at the Nima Cluster of Schools, Mrs. Okaikoi indicated that a library is an important facility for learning, information sharing and knowledge acquisition.
The Library project which is the 20th in Ghana and the 75th in Africa is an initiative by the UNWTO’s ST-EP Board to help developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty across the world by 2015 through the provision of books for knowledge acquisition.
“As you are aware, a library is the heart, brain and memory of a society. It is the source of knowledge that feeds and illuminates the mind,” she said.
A library according to her, is indispensable to the intellectual growth of a community especially children who are the foundation of the community and nation at large.
Mrs. Okaikoi indicated the government’s commitment to ensure that children of school going age have access to free education and further called on parents to ensure that children find themselves in school during school periods.
The Minister urged parents and children in the Nima community to make the best use of the library facility since it was part of the government’s effort to ensure good and quality education for the youth.
Mrs. Okaikoi commended the UNWTO’s ST-EP Foundation for such an initiative and pledged government’s support to ensure that the project is sustained and beneficial to all Ghanaian children.
On his part, the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso East, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed said the initiative to build a library for the Nima community has been the dream of many for several years.
He noted that the collaboration between the Citizens’ Social Club of Nima (CSCN) and the Nima Association of New York (NANY) in the United States of America as well as the contributions from chiefs Nii Futa and chief Imoru Baba Issah to the projects gave further impetus to the realization of the dream.
He added that NANY provided $10,000.00 for the project to begin and the project started with the firm commitment and full- time involvement of the CSCN in terms of efforts, resources and supervision.
He noted that the NANY further provided an amount of $6500.00 for the project; the CSCN utilized this amount to get half of the concrete work done. He revealed that “in spite of the support we received from the groups, the funds generated proved to be inadequate”.
“We sought for Government support through the GETFUND, the technical inspection team of the Ministry of Education advised that the project should be a two storey building instead of the initial three storey building based on the assessment of the structure” he added.
He said an amount of 36,000 Ghana Cedis from the GETFUND was given them to support the project and he personally financed the project to the tune of 15,000 Ghana Cedis from his own resources to get the project going and meet the requirements of the books donors before the next release of the GETFUND to the Ghana Education Service.
“Lets me clear the minds of the people that we are not planning to hijack the project as was indicated early on. We did all we could with the collective support of the CSCN, NANY, the chiefs and the entire community for this dream to become a reality, the beneficiaries are the children and students of the community who are going to use the facility” he added.
Dr Ahmed on behalf of the entire community expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the Korea delegations made up of Ambassador DHO Young –Shim, chairperson of the Board of Directors and Member of UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Members of the National Assembly of the Republic of South Korea, The opposition, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for their donations.
He urged all who will use the library now and in the future to take care of the books and the furniture so that the next generation can also benefits from it.
The UN WTO-ST-EP Foundation donated 5000 books of different subjects from arts to science and furniture and computers to the schools to be use in the library.
The Chairperson of the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation, Ambassador Dho Young-Shim on behalf of the delegation thanked the government of Ghana for its commitment towards the education of the youth and pledged the support of the foundation in ensuring that the government meets the MDG’s.