20 July 2021
UN SDG Book Club Interview Series with Ama Worla (Ewurama Bennin), Author of 'Kayim’s Quest for Good Fortune'
Ama Worla is an educational administrator, author and a trainer who brings color to the learning process through stories, dialogue, and games. Motivated by her children’s love for her storytelling, Ama was inspired to help children learn important lessons about life by reading about capabilities of people just like them. Ama Worla's book 'Kayim's Quest for Good Fortune' is included in the Inaugural English Reading List: SDG 1 No Poverty How long have you been writing children’s books? For years I have created case studies that are used for teaching and training. But the story of Kayim was one I created to keep my son engaged as I drove him to school. It was during the COVID-19 lockdown that I wrote it down, after listening to a sermon on being fruitful. So I am just cutting my teeth as a children’s author with the stories of Kayim. What inspired you to take up the SDG challenge? I was fascinated by the opportunity to have the book contribute to helping African children see work as the route to success as opposed to handouts, scams and gambling. However, Mr. Nana Djan of Mountype Publishing brought the opportunity to my attention, so he deserves credit as well. The main focus of the SDG Book Club is to inform and educate the children; can you describe briefly how were you able to create a fusion of entertainment, education and information? The stories I tell are supposed to keep my children engaged and teach them the lessons, I want them to learn in a fun way. I am conscious that if the story is not witty or engaging enough, I will not be able to teach the lesson. I try to think of what my children would enjoy hearing and then I begin to write. How do you carry out research for your book? The research starts with talking to my children and finding interesting content for them. Their perspective is very useful for developing my stories. So far, what has being a writer been like? I enjoy writing because it is usually a fun escape from what is going on around me. The Kayim journey in particular has been a thrilling experience of seeing the stories illustrated, and read by others. I feel most fulfilled when I hear the lessons being referred to by children. What was your ambition when you were younger? I wanted to own a large dairy farm that would be a place for people with cognitive and learning disabilities to find shelter, community and decent work. What do you like to do when you are not writing? I have other roles that keep me busy. I work full-time with a youth leadership development organization as a program manager. I am also a student, wife and mother. What were the challenges you faced when writing the book? The lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was a blessing in disguise because it took away the excuse of not having the time to write. Now that I have been bitten by the writer’s bug, I struggle to find the time to dream and write without feeling guilty about the other things waiting to be done. I have at least seven manuscripts waiting to be turned into books. Tell us something about the main character? Kayim is an ambitious young boy who wants to be rich! In this first book, Kayim builds his relationship with his grandfather and uncle who teach him (over the next few books) how to make money, invest properly, run a business, contribute to his community and be responsible. He has a loving mother and good friends that you can meet if you keep following him in the other books. What was the inspiration for the story? My son! He loves stories so I started making up stories for him. What advice would you give to young readers across the continent? Be like Kayim! Learn lessons quickly and grow! This story was written by Zion Rufus for Borders Literature for All Nations, one of the founding members of the SDG Book Club African Chapter.