Prolific children literature writer, Foluke Falayi, is in high spirits. First, she this is her 10th year in the field of children literature while she also has a new book out.
In the new work tiled Repose, Falayi, who became a full time writer not long after she lost a job, underscores the importance of education to every child, especially the girl child.
She says in an interview, “Never violate a child’s right to education. Repose is conceived to stop ‘child marriage’, which has no advantage whatsoever. A female child should not be denied education. She must not be forced into marriage’.
“I feel sad each time I see a child abandoning education and going into marriage. Lack of education is the source of destruction, violence, poverty, chaos and conflict happening today. No sacred text says a female child should not be educated. Education is essential in the journey of one’s faith. So, it should be made compulsory for males and females. Knowledge is the principal thing, search for it.”
In the new book, Baba’s female children are denied education and are trapped in poverty. But Atikah, the main character, who is Baba’s second to the last female child, remains determined to be educated against all challenges. She ends well.
“I did the National Youth Service Corps in the north. It was awful, the way female students in junior class dropped out of school and ended in ‘marriage’, which affected their health thus depriving them of opportunities. I have all of these in mind while writing Repose, although I also intend to improve reading culture among children,” she explains.
On the journey so far, as a writer, Falayi says it has been tough, especially in terms of financial challenges, but adds that God has continued to sustain her.
“Writing is a gift I discovered after l lost my job but it is God who has made success possible,” she notes. “Government and other relevant bodies and personalities should celebrate indigenous authors. Let’s celebrate our own. Some schools in Nigeria turned down books written by what they call the local authors. Proudly, they say they do not read books written by Nigerian authors.
“It is a thing of shame. You have your school in Nigeria, you make your money in Nigeria and yet you do not embrace and promote your own culture. Read and encourage local authors. I say to every pupil out there: read! To parents, buy books about Nigeria for your children and ensure they read. Government should set up motivating reading programmes in different states – it will yield some interesting results. I love my country and every other person should love it.”
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