Magnus Eze, Enugu
In a world and time when not so many people read books anymore, what is the fate of those children who may not even have access to books?
This has been big headache to this young Afro-soul musician; Jonbethel Ezeugo who is currently leading a campaign to donate 10,000 books to primary school pupils across the country.
Through the ‘Save Our Tomorrow Foundation’ (SOT), Ezeugo has come up with the laudable initiative tagged “The book and music festival,” aimed at using music to revive reading culture children; to make the younger ones fall in love with books and reading for fun.
“We live in a nation that is supposedly free from slavery but still held down by mental slavery. A mind that is not enlightened and continually renewed cannot be creative, hence the evil and corruption everywhere.
“The organization believes that it is easier to build a strong child than to fix a broken man,” he said.
So, in a bid to change the narrative; the non-profit has launched crowd collection of both old and new books from donations of individuals around Nigeria with the target of giving out at least 10,000 books.
In partnership with Enene Akonjom Foundation and the Smart Gang, the SOT Foundation on January 31, stormed the Evangel Nursery and Primary School in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, for its maiden outreach programme.
At the school, they gave the children live music concert experience and free expensive books with attached notes for their parents and guardians.
They encouraged the children to develop and follow up the habit of reading books that go beyond their school curriculum. It was indeed motivational for these children who had almost lost the flair for reading books. They clamoured for the books like they were gold, which of course was what they meant to them.
About 200 books were distributed to the pupils at the Evangel school, Abakaliki, where a Port Harcourt, Rivers State based musician, Pamela Scott also performed while Blessing Akpa came from Akwa Ibom state and spoke to the pupils.
The group followed it up with visit to two secondary schools and another primary school in the state, while Kwara state is slated as next stop for the train.
An ex-student of Evangel school, Abakaliki, Ezeugo disclosed that his love for music ‘sparked’ when as a child; the school brought a musician who played for them. He believes that if experts in various fields of endeavour could make out time to visit schools and share their experience with children; they would motivate them to aspire to be like them.
According to him, the book and music festival has come to stay and will be touring schools and communities across Nigeria; what is required is for more partners and sponsors to key into the vision.
“It may seem like big work; yes indeed it is big work. But someone must do the good work. So, if we must secure for our children a better future, we must ensure it begins today”, he said.
The multi-gifted Ebonyi State-born act later thrilled the children of Evangel Primary and Secondary Schools; his alma mater with a perfect blend of his guitar strings and beautiful voice.
“My music is a contribution to life. I do songs that have meaning; songs that influence the society. These children need role models”, he told Daily Sun.
Johnbethel as he is fondly called is not new to charity. The 24-year old rising star, in an interview three years ago in Abuja, said that his passion for the promotion of child rights was one of the things that propel him. In fact, he disclosed that his representation of Ebonyi State in the Children’s Parliament inspired him to compose his first album.