Over the years, there’s been concern about the low reading culture amongst young Africans. This has led to the birth of a lot of initiatives and innovative solutions aimed at sparking interest in reading and improving literacy.
Nigerian Entrepreneur, Omolola Odunowo is one of the young Africans solving this problem head on. She founded Bookworms Arise, a book club that’s set to make more Nigerians develop a reading habit and increase the country’s literacy level.
Within few months of launch, she has organized a number of reading meetups in a few states around the country.
In this interview, she talks about Bookworms Arise and the journey so far.
Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Omolola Odunowo, I am 23. I currently work freelance as a content/copywriter, I also dabble a bit into programming (amatuer level) and of course, I am the founder of Bookworms Arise.
Tell us about Bookworms Arise and the solutions you provide
Bookworms Arise acts as a parent company for so many other creative ideas as well as institutions that are both in the pipeline and of course floating ideas.
The team at Bookworms Arise aims to grow literacy levels in Nigeria and beyond as well as address education directly and indirectly.
We are currently well known for our book club which currently houses about 200 members from all around Nigeria.
What inspired the idea for it?
Funny story; this foundation started all because I craved a book club nearby – the aim was to find people who were like-minded readers like myself and also find a circle which would help me broaden my reading library by introducing me to more books.
I searched and searched and there was none close-by so being a literature graduate and a think out of the boxer, I suddenly had the idea to solve my problem myself and from the 16th of October, 2017 I put my ideas into action and here we are.
Tell us about the journey so far
If I say it has been rosy, I will be lying, but the thing about the journey is that they are necessary for growth. The tears you shed when things look like they are not falling in place to the smiles you let out when everyone around you feels fulfilled, it’s all a beautiful process to where I am now and I am forever thankful for the experiences I learn from everyday.
What’s your most exciting moment since you started running Bookworms Arise?
The most exciting moment has to be when Pulse.ng featured the book club alongside other amazing bookclubs on their website. I mean, it is a big deal to get shoutouts from top-notch industries especially when you do not expect it.
All your ideas are valid, you will always find people who believe in your vision. – Omolola Odunowo
What’s the greatest challenge you encountered since you started out and how did you overcome it?
The greatest challenge so far has been handling disappointments. I try to always be the one who stays at the forefront to take the bullets when they come because I know there is nothing like a smooth sailing ship. I try my best to shield my moderators from all the heat.
I handle disappointments by taking these disappointments to mean lessons, to mean criticisms – I see disappointments as opportunities for an even bigger strategy.
How would you describe the current reading culture amongst young people; do you think it has improved?
Honestly, it is struggling. I wouldn’t t say it has drastically improved, what I will say is that it is improving daily and this is why I always remain grateful to all book clubs helping with the fight.
What’s the one thing that inspires you?
That would have to be changing lives. I am always searching for new ways to help people, new ways to bring people together, to take the world from its toxic state to a place of happiness.
What are the future plans for Bookworms Arise?
There are a lot of things in the pipeline and with each passing day, month and year we are constantly planning. The team is working hard to make Bookworms Arise a brand name which would help us give more educational related services to the community, as well as help writers make money from writing their books.
What advice would you give young Africans looking to start a business venture?
The key to growth is staying consistent and never forgetting why you started in the first place. All your ideas are valid, you will always find people who believe in your vision. You just need to start, someway somehow, just start.