10×10 is built on a foundation of partnerships with NGOs, corporations, policy makers, and grassroots organizations – all working to change minds, lives, and policy. Worldreader believes in the invaluable power of reading, and they work tirelessly to put books in the hands of children across the world through new technology like e-readers. 10×10 supports their efforts to change the world through education and we are proud to support the work they are doing on the ground in our 10×10 weekly Partner Series.
A few months ago, we learned that 17-year-old Okanta Kate, one of the students in Worldreader’s iREAD program in Ghana, wanted to become a famous writer when she grew up.
Since all famous writers have to start somewhere, a blog seems as good a place as any to help Kate reach her goal. So, we asked her if she would like to guest write a post for Worldreader and 10×10, and she enthusiastically agreed. We believe listening to the voices of young women like Kate, a poet at heart, is a perfect way to celebrate the first-ever United Nation’s International Day of the Girl coming up on Oct. 11. Here’s the beginning of her story, in her words.
My passion for writing started when I was eight years old. That was when I lost my dear mum.
Writing is something I enjoy doing. I think I was born to write. I use the little time that I have to write. It can be anything like poems, stories or something about nature. And, sometimes, I write about the things I witnessed and experienced myself.
What motivated me and moved me to write? It was when Worldreader came to my school and introduced the e-reader to my class.
Before I met Worldreader, I was writing, but it wasn’t easy for me. When I didn’t know a word, I would have to do research and it would take me some time to find out what the word meant. And, what was even worse was the fact that I wasn’t even serious about writing. Anything I wrote I just dumped it somewhere.
Worldreader motivated me because I was able to look at all those stories and read poems and learn new things. I said to myself, “I can even be better and more famous than them if I work hard to achieve my goal.” So as time went by I decided to take writing seriously. I know I’m doing fine with it all because I have discovered what is inside me, and see the kind of potential and talent I have.
So far, I have a few poems and short stories, like “Lonely Village,” which talks about rural-urban drift. As we can see, the youth nowadays move from rural areas to the urban areas in search of higher standard living but they forget what they leave behind. It is what they already have that they seek. But because they don’t bring out the good in what they have, they let go of it.
I also wrote a poem called “Agony of a Woman,” which talks about the plight and problems women face, especially in Africa, when they are not able to have children. These women are being rejected and looked down upon. They are even sometimes denied of their rights.
I see myself in the future being a famous writer — not just a writer, but also someone who will inspire, encourage and motivate people. Apart from writing, I always dream to be a lawyer. If I don’t get that opportunity, I will go into show business.
My special thanks will always go to Worldreader because they helped me fall in love with writing. I will always be grateful to them because they made me someone today.
Okanta Kate wants to change the world with her words. We hope she does. Let’s celebrate girls like Okanta on October 11th.