By Uchechukwu Nnaike
The Organiser of Blooming Minds Young Writers Awards, Mrs. Thelma Ofosu-Asamoah, has advised educators to encourage their students to write creatively by introducing series of activities that would arouse their imagination and interest, apart from regular school work and exams.
Ofosu-Asamoah, who said this during the presentation of prizes to winners of the fifth annual Blooming Minds Young Writers Awards in Lagos recently, added that students could be tasked to observe the happenings in their environment and write about them. This she said would help them to be observant, imaginative and to think creatively.
According to her the creative writing competition, sponsored by Genesis Energy, which started in 2017, is aimed at raising young African leaders by recognising and rewarding children with creative abilities in writing and arts. The awards are held in Ghana and Nigeria.
“It is all about getting children to be analytic, to be more research-driven by looking within their communities and creating stories from their everyday experiences in life. It is about them owning their narrative, promoting African literature as opposed to looking at other people’s culture and thinking that theirs is better than ours. But if they are able to appreciate their everyday life it makes it alot easier.”
She said the students are not given any particular topic, they are rather asked to go into their communities, observe what is going on and write about it. This year however, she said the competition focused on COVID-19, the students were asked to write about their experiences during the pandemic.
Ofosu-Asamoah noted that the competition will help improve students’ academic performance because writing builds their vocabulary, as they learn to use new words through constant reading and writing.
She appealed to the government to support the organisation by making it easier to access public schools, as well as by building hubs where children can go for creative writing workshops.
The competition was organised in two categories: Category A 10-15 year-olds while category B is for children from six to nine years old.
In Category A, a senior secondary one (SS1) student of Ansar-Ud-Deen College, Isolo, Lagos, Maryam Shiyanbade emerged winner and received a cheque of N100,000; the first runner-up, Adaobi Okonkwo got N80,000; while the second runner-up, Nofisat Awwal got books and other prizes.
In category B, a year four pupil of Chrisland School, Lekki, Michael Imogu emerged winner and got a cheque of N50,000; the first runner-up, Chinelo Chimelugo received N25,000; while the second runner-up, Emmanuel Edmund got books and other prizes.
Shiyanbade, who expressed delight at emerging the winner in her category, said she wrote about how COVID-19 affected her and her community.
She when schools were shut and they had to resort to online learning, sometimes poor network connection or inadequate data will make her miss classes. Also, COVID-19 led to job loss and increased poverty and crime rate in the community.
Imogu on his part said he wrote about how COVID-19 spreads and advised children to follow the guidelines to check the spread of the disease.