Tuyele Chipandula is one of the two Reading Camp Mentors at Chiwawa reading camp, Nkhata Bay North. This literacy project is part-funded by Think Malawi and is operated by TEMWA.
Reading Camp Mentors are dedicated volunteers who promote, facilitate, and support early grade reading among primary school-aged children. Temwa provides comprehensive training for all the Reading Camp Mentors, and Tuyele has noticed her skills and confidence as a mentor quickly develop since becoming a mentor in 2019.
“I am fit as a mentor - Temwa made sure we undergo different trainings. I know how to manage different ages of children, I know how to get the shy type to speak up and make them confident about themselves and most of all I can get any child through the learning and reading process."
The Chiwawa Reading Camp provides for up to 110 children and runs every Friday and Saturday. Tuyele is responsible for planning and organising the materials needed for each class which involve playing, reading, and writing materials for a range of age groups and literacy levels.
“I teach different groups of children, the little ones, who literally cannot read, others who have started trying and others who have now mastered but the goal is that everyone is able to read and write.”
The structure of the classes can vary depending on the children attending, however, Tuyele always begins teaching the children all together for at least 15 minutes before dividing them into smaller groups.
Her mentorship has seen learners greatly improve in their school and literacy performance.
“All the children that I mentor passed at their previous end of term examinations and I was very pleased that most of the learners who were on average level moved to excellent levels.”
To ensure the children are engaged and interested in the literacy lessons, Tuyele and the other Reading Camp Mentors employ a creative approach to teaching through using songs, games, and locally produced reading materials in addition to lesson materials provided by Temwa. The combination of learning and playing is a key component of the success of Reading Camps which helps to encourage the children to return and, most importantly, enjoy learning
The Chiwawa Reading Camp has been incredibly beneficial for the local community and, due to a growing number of attendees, will bring on another mentor to support its growth. The growth of the Camp has come from the community recognising the importance of early grade literacy skills and, as a result, introduced bylaws to make sure every child from Primary 1 to 4 attends the Reading Camp. Tuyele is excited by more children attending as she loves mentoring and knows that the success of the learners will have a positive impact on their community development into the future.
This story and the images were provided by temwa.org