Portia Dery is a writer from Ghana who is best known for her children’s stories but she also writes short stories and poetry.
In 2016, Portia Dery received a fellowship from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative and, among other things, developed The Funky Read Write Clinic , a programme for promoting children’s reading and writing skills. Since 2013, she has been active in the field of children’s literacy, founding the African Youth Writers Organization (AYWO) initiative.
At that time, she worked in a rural area of Ghana for the Department of Community Development and Social Welfare covering gender equality, economic fundamentals, literacy, and health. Dery was among the runners for the 2016 Queen’s Young Leaders Award. The author won the Children’s Africana Book Award for her book, Grandma’s List 2018.
What started out as a hobby for me became a really important cause as I soon discovered the majority of school children could not read a complete sentence from a book. I had to go back to the drawing board to strengthen and design content for my reading clinics.
In my opinion, it’s the lack of commitment and willpower on the part of our governments. It’s also the emphasis on quantity instead of quality that has contributed to the inadequate literacy skills children get after spending many years in schools. Even when children are encouraged to read, the end goal is always to pass the exams or test. But we all have a role to play. Parents should spend (more) time reading with children.Portia Dery