A 19-year-old Nigerian boy, Ayomide Olawale was announced as the winner of the World Bank Group and Financial Times’ joint Blog Writing Competition.
The Bank made the announcement on its blog saying the blog competition asked young people around the world how they would help children learn to read by the time they are 10 years old.
Mr Olawale is a student of Bookers International School in Lagos titled his submission for the competition as “A pathway from the street to the book” which narrated his experience in term of reading, and loss of his parent at an earlier stage of his life.
Accounting for his experience as an orphan on the street of Lagos, Olawale said: “In the streets, there are no skills, no talent and no compassion; you had to fight for everything—and most importantly, there are no books.”
“In personal struggles to eke a living, Mr Olawale had a change of story when he started reading books from Bookers International Schools. He said: “Reading helped me heal; it exposed me to the struggles and stories of other people. I realized everyone had their struggles and pains; I realized it was important to be positive and strong. Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist made me realize that many children in the world are going through similar challenges I had faced and there is a need to create more reading programs to help young people.
“Bookers International School’s “Street Reading Challenge 2014,” which was sadly discontinued in 2018 due to lack of funding, changed my life forever. They had saved over 1,000 homeless children like me from illiteracy and turned many of us to their students and lover of books.”
Olawale outdid Faisa Syahla Sabila from Al-Izhar Senior High School in Indonesia, and Grace Erika Meki Jumah from Joyce Banda Foundation Secondary School in Malawi to win the competition.