The U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Erica Barks-Ruggles has launched the Embassy’s 5th Annual Everybody Reads Rwanda Campaign. On hand for the campaign launch was Ministry of Education Director of Cross-Cutting Programs Sylivie Uwimbabazi, U.S. Embassy officials, educators, civil society partners, and secondary school students. Also on hand to participate during the launch was Mashirika, a creative and performing arts group who delivered an emotional reenactment of scenes from this year’s book, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
Set in Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1943, this 1990 Newbery winner tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who, with the help of her family, undertakes a dangerous mission to save her best friend from being discovered by the Nazis. The Embassy selected this book because of its timeless and inspirational themes: friendship, courage, fear, that characterized a Danish family, during the Nazis occupation in 1943, which compared to some families in Rwanda in 1994, when the country was plunged into war and genocide.
The U.S. Embassy distributed 500 copies of the book to schools, English teachers, libraries, and other groups as part of the Everybody Reads Rwanda campaign. The goal of the program is to support ongoing efforts to create a culture of reading in Rwanda by encouraging as many people as possible to read and discuss the same book. During the next month, representatives from the U.S. Embassy will be leading book discussions in high schools, American Corners, and institutions across the country.
Everybody Reads Rwanda is an annual event that the U.S. Embassy started in 2012. Since then, the campaign has brought in five books, including “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines (2012); “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom (2013) ; “Charlotte’s Web” , a children’s novel by American author E. B. White (2014); “ A Wrinkle in Time” a science fantasy novel by American writer Madeleine L’Engle (2015).