Admired for his contribution towards leading Ghana’s democracy and development, former President Jerry John Rawlings’ 70th birthday was celebrated by the entire country across all media platforms.

To make his birthday memorable, he surprised over 600 children at Chorkor, a fishing community in the Ablekuma South constituency to read and encourage them.

As soon as he arrived at the venue for Raising Readers, the children run to him and hugged him.  He read with them after which he encouraged them to develop a reading habit.

Former President Rawlings said he considered reading key to building a knowledge-based society and told the story of his daughter, Dr Zenator Rawlings, a Member of Parliament for Klottey-Korley, who at the age of 10 learnt how to fly an aircraft.

He counselled the children to aim high and give life their best shot. “You are the future of Ghana. We need you to take your studies seriously and grow up to be responsible citizens who can manage and develop Ghana. Ghana needs you as responsible and committed doctors, engineers, teachers, politicians and the likes,” he said.

He encouraged parents at the event to take a keen interest in the welfare and wellbeing of their children and praised the volunteers at Raising Readers.

“It is very refreshing to see you all passionately taking this up to help children read and improve on their vocabulary. This will make it much easier for them to get through their school curricula,” he noted.

Raising Readers is an initiative between Tigo’s Shelter for Education programme and Raising Readers Ghana.

Since it was launched in April 2017, they had spent every weekend reading with children in various communities within the Greater Accra metropolis. It has garnered unprecedented support from high profile personalities including former President John Agyekum Kufuor, diplomats, authors, celebrities and journalists.

The community reading sessions for the Ablekuma West constituency starts July 8, 2017.

GNA