|Chela; the girl in pink boots leading a revolutionary campaign|
Tabitha Chelangat Bushendch (Chela) is the ten year old ‘girl in pink boots’ spearheading the ‘Yetu Start-a-Library Campaign’. The initiatives’ aim is to instill a reading culture among school children by raising money (30 Million) to start 100 libraries in public schools across Kenya. The sub-campaign, known as ‘Story for Chela’, additionally seeks to collect stories that will become a historical book collectively written by a nation. James Momanyi spoke to the Class Four pupil at Farasi Lane Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya.
What do you love about reading? It helps me learn new words and their meanings. Reading also helps me easily understand what we are taught in class.
Why is the Yetu Start-a-Library Campaign necessary?
It will start libraries in primary schools that do not have them. This will allow pupils access storybooks, which will in turn improve the pupils’ academic performance. I am encouraging people to continue donating to the campaign so that together we can start the much needed libraries.
What do you love about being part of Yetu Start-a-Library Campaign?
Through my efforts and that of others, millions of Kenyan children are going to benefit from the libraries and books.
Why do you think you were selected to spearhead the Yetu Start-a-Library Campaign?
I was selected because of my courage when I am addressing people, my good voice and because I am a God-fearing child.
What did your classmates say or do upon learning that you were the ‘The girl in pink boots’?
My classmates were happy and told me they are proud on me. Infact, they have promised to write a book titled ‘Chela is Ours’.
Why the title ‘The girl in pink boots’?
When I was interviewed for the position, I was wearing pink clothes and they thought that the pink boots would go perfectly with the clothes I was wearing.
What are your other achievements?
I am one of the children leaders in our church; I lead a group of children where we learn the word of God. I am also the Class Four prefect.
How do you feel about your achievements at such a young age?
I am grateful for what I have achieved so far. Making my family, relatives, teachers, friends and fellow school-mates proud is also a very good thing.
Anything you might be preparing for at the moment?
I am half way through a story I am writing about my life in school.
How did it feel to meet (and work with) Dr. Auma Obama?
It is great to meet such a famous and good person. She always gives me advice, tells me to work hard in school and be a good person to my parents, teachers and fellow pupils. She loves children and also loves reading books and encouraging children to love books too. In fact, she gave me a signed copy of her book. And Then Life Happens: A Memoir.
How do you juggle your passion/talent with school-work?
I manage to do all those things through prayers, worship and always consulting my parents and teachers who have always been there for me.
Best advice I have ever received: Dr. Auma Obama once told me to always be myself.
What it takes to stand out: Being courageous, God fearing and outgoing.
Most memorable moments: When I was shooting the Start A Library Campaign video and when I addressed people at the Storymoja Festival 2015 Gala dinner together with Dr. Auma Obama.
Advice to BINGWA readers: Never give up or lose hope in life. Always work hard to achieve your dreams.
Future plans: To be a lawyer so that I can defend the people through wisdom and knowledge from God.
People I look up to: The late former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela, Dr. Auma Obama, my parents, Churchill and my school headteacher, Mrs. Joanne Owaka.
Honesty and Integrity: Integrity means showing people who you really are by doing the right things always, while honesty means to be truthful in whatever you so and say.
My views on child rights: The rights of children must be respected. For instance, children must be given more books to read and materials to enable them study in school.
On corruption: People should stop being corrupt because corruption is bad.
Favourite subjects in school: English, Science and C.R.E.
Favourite colour: Pink.
Favourite music: Gospel music, especially by Kambua and Alice Kamande.
Favorite authors: Dr. Auma Obama and Muthoni Garland.