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Eunike writes stories to inspire her peers

This International Literacy Day, we’re celebrating 12-year-old Eunike Gusmão from Timor-Leste, who is writing stories to inspire her community, help her peers learn to read and to share the message about the importance of family.  

She is one of 32 young local authors who have contributed stories to a digital library implemented by ChildFund Timor-Leste and partner Library for All.

We asked Eunike why she decided to write stories. “I want to inspire and motivate other kids like me to write stories,” she said. “I also wanted to share the message about the importance of family to other kids.” 

Eunike is inspired by her mother. When she heard that ChildFund and Library for All was running a writing competition, she leapt at the opportunity to enter. ChildFund called out to local authors to write an original story for young readers.

Eunike entered a story, titled Thank You Santa, about a young boy searching for a family. The story is about a little boy who goes in search of Santa at the North Pole. The little boy asked Santa for a family for Christmas. Santa couldn’t stand to see him sad, so he found the boy a family for the holidays to make him happy.

Eunike’s story and those entered in the competition by other young authors were accompanied by illustrations reflecting Timorese art and culture and published in the digital library.

Eunike is in Grade 7 and when she is not writing, she loves to read. Her favourite genres are history and fantasy. “My favourite books are Who is Napoleon, the Great Wall of China and What was the Titanic,” she said.

Eunike encourages her peers to take their education seriously. “Don’t waste your time doing something that is not that important, focus on your goal,” she said. “If you have a goal don’t just say it but put it into action.  Never give up hope and never be shy.”

Eunike believes that reading is important to learning. “Reading can teach us new things and learn something that is interesting and can keep us knowledgeable.”

International Literacy Day is celebrated every year to highlight the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights. This years’ theme is ‘Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide’. Despite much progress, there are still literacy challenges persist with at least 773 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills.

ChildFund is supporting children like Eunike, every day of the year to learn to read so that they can access a quality education and reach their full potential.

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