My friend, knowing that I work for AARP, sent me a link to a story of a man who learned how to read at the tender age of 84. I watched the trailer (which I included below) and honestly, I can’t wait to see this film. It opens next week. It truly is a story of overcoming challenges and fulfilling dreams.
Here’s a little background:
In a remote, primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children jostle for a chance at the free education newly promised by the government. One applicant causes astonishment when he arrives at the school: His name is Maruge, he is 84 years old, and he is desperate to learn to read. For years, he fought the British for the liberation of his country and now wants a chance at the education so long denied him. Maruge’s prize possession is a letter written to him by the president of Kenya, and he will not rest until he is able to read the letter for himself—even if it means sitting in a classroom alongside six-year-old children.
Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu supports his struggle to gain admission, and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don’t want to waste a precious school desk on such an old man. Teacher Jane puts her life and career on the line to help Maruge achieve a life-long goal. Hour after hour, she sits by his side, patiently teaching him to read and, in turn, learns powerful lessons from him about perseverance and respect.
Full of vitality and humor, The First Grader explores the remarkable relationships Maruge builds with classmates some 80 years his junior. And above all, the story is a triumphant testimony to the transforming force of education and the ability of a dedicated teacher to shape lives.
National Geographic releases The First Grader in US theaters on May 13. For each view of the film’s trailer, fifty cents to will go to Reading is Fundamental, Kakenya Center for Excellence, and the South Sudan Institute (up to $50,000 / 100,000 views). Share the trailer link and watch as many times as you want—let’s get to 100,000 views so these organizations will receive the full donation amount and further their missions of promoting education worldwide.
For more theater listings and more info, visit the Facebook.com/TheFirstGrader
Have you ever learned anything later in life like Maruge? What new thing did you learn and what obstacles did you face?