Eritrean Female Pen

The participation and contribution of women in arts and literary works is increasing at a fairly speed. We have seen women columnist in the gazette and magazines, authors of books and film writers. Eritrean women intellectuals have been producing various educational and fictional books that help in broadening the insight and understanding of the people.

On 18th February, 2022 Ms. Rahel Asgedom, author and teacher of literature, has conducted a presentation on her endeavors of publishing a booklets for children. Ms. Rahel is one of the stalwart of Eritrean women intellectuals who read and write extensively and acquired a reputation in literature. She has already published numerous books for children and adults. An English novel, ‘before she breaks my heart’ is her famous book that attests her capability as novelist. In her presentation, Ms. Rahel has given a detailed analysis on the importance of producing books for children that can stretch their thought and develop a habit of reading at early stage of development.

Her new books for children written in Tigrigna and English are a serious of books (eight books) that touches diverse topics. Ms. Rahel explained the objectives of the books include to “develop the reading habit in children and to create and strengthen bonds between children and parents.” She designed her booklets to give chance for children to question, criticize and examine. There is strong evidence that the amount of reading not only impacts on reading achievement and educational attainment, but also increases general knowledge of a child. She opined that “few people like reading and our reading intensity is very less.” The reason to change her direction of writing to children was partly to change the likelihood of reading and reading intensity in the future generation of Eritrea.  She expressed her belief that “the booklets will be beneficial to instill reading habit in children from an early age.”

Cognizant of the overall conditions of Eritrean society, author Rahel Asgedom choose to make the booklets short, simple and affordable. Beyond the original works she is also working in translating English books into local languages to introduce children with foreign experiences and provide alternative reading materials.

Ms. Rahel Asgedom, as a writer and teacher tries to show the Eritrean society how it looks like. By doing so, she reflects her intellectual posture in the society. In her presentation she called for parents especially for mothers to bear their familial responsibility of developing a desirable behavior in children.

Ms. Rahel as a mother of two shares her experience openly with the audience on how small rewards for doing something good, and small punishments for doing something bad works. In addition to that, they need to have easy access to good reading material that fit the child’s interest and level. Ms. Rahel has made enormous effort to cover a variety of age appropriate genres and topics. Her contribution to the available children’s literature is so great and families as well as educational institutions must properly use to the personal and academic achievement of their children. The presentation was enriched by questions, opinions and additional points from audience.      


Simon Weldemichael

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