May 22, 2018
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
With the aim to promoting a reading culture among school pupils in the country, the United Bank for Africa Sierra Leone, through their UBA Foundation Read Africa Initiative, yesterday donated literature books to three schools in Freetown.
The bank donated over 900 literature books to the Sierra Leone Grammar School, St Joseph’s Convent Secondary School and the Annie Walsh Memorial School.
The UBA Foundation Read Africa Initiative was launched in 2011 and the project is aimed at encouraging children to improve on their vocabulary and communication skills through reading.
Through its Read Africa Initiative, the UBA Foundation is helping rekindle the dwindling reading culture among African youth as they pursue their education. Over hundred thousand books and educational materials have been donated to various schools across Africa as UBA Foundation continues to traverse the continent, contributing positively to the development of African youth.
Speaking at the donation ceremony in the various school grounds in Freetown, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of UBA Sierra Leone, Chinedu Obita, said United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc is one of Africa’s largest financial institutions with operations in 20 African countries and three global financial centres – New York, London and Paris.
He said UBA has been operating in Africa since 1949 – referred to then as the British and French Bank Limited (BFB). It took over the assets and liabilities of BFB and was incorporated as a limited liability company on 23 February, 1961 under the Compliance Ordinance.
He said the bank started operations in Sierra Leone in 2008 and that they believe in the empowerment of young people in any country they operate, hence they launched the Foundation in 2006, charged with the responsibility of implementing their Corporate Social Responsibility.
He said it was no longer a secret that pupils pay more attention to social media and avoid the culture of reading, adding that reading culture helps to improve the intelligence capacity of pupils.
He said that through the Read Africa Project, they have donated lots of literature books to schools in African countries where they operate.
Also speaking, UBA Sierra Leone Board Chairman, Emerica Karefa-Kargbo, said the Foundation was eager to give back to society and to contribute to creating dynamic educational platforms for future generations on the continent.
She encouraged pupils to read voraciously as that would help them master the English language and be able to write and speak good English.
She disclosed that by September this year, the bank would launch its essay competition for pupils and that winners would stand a chance to win scholarship, computers and Ipads, among many others.
Receiving the donation, Sierra Leone Grammar School Principal, Akiwande Lasite, said the bank’s Read Africa project was a welcome, especially in Sierra Leone where pupils no longer have time and passion to read.
He promised they would use the books judiciously and that he believed the books would help his pupils improve on their reading culture.
Acting Vice Principal of St Joseph Junior Secondary School, Aminata R. Conteh, thanked the bank’s entourage for their initiative to boost reading culture among pupils in the country.
She promised that they would do all in their powers to encourage pupils to prioritise reading and use it to empower themselves academically.
Principal of the Annie Walsh Memorial School, Sylvia Scot, said the new technology called social media has now taken over and that pupils no longer have interest in reading books.
According to her, she was totally against the use of social media among pupils and that at times she would give books to her pupils to read and explain the story of the book.