Over 400 children across Gulf and the Southern Highlands provinces will have the opportunity to explore a whole new world of reading during this year’s National Book Week thanks to a book drive organised by employees of Oil Search and the Oil Search Foundation in 2016, OSF reports.
The 2016 book drive included cash donations resulting in the purchase of 16 cartons of books to mark the annual National Book Week celebrations.
The boxes contain up to 50 books each and were bought from Buk bilong Pikinini (BbP) with funds raised by employees from the Sydney and Port Moresby offices.
“Giving children the opportunity to explore books at an early age can make a real positive impact on children’s development,” said OSF Deputy Director, Kymberley Kepore. “Learning how to read gives them access to the right doors so they can then be empowered to make right choices in their education, with their health and their lives.”
The books are being distributed to 11 schools in the Gulf and Southern Highlands provinces as part of Oil Search’s ongoing commitment to promote early childhood literacy in keeping with the theme of “Libraries for Nation Building”.
Eleven boxes of books were sent out in late July, with four going to Kikori and seven to Kutubu. The schools include the Kikori SDA Early Childhood School, Kikori, Irimigu and Vera Bari elementary schools in the Gulf Province, and Pimaga, Nipa, Paua, Inu, Bagaule, Waro and Orokana elementary schools in the Southern Highlands Province.
Irimuku Elementary School Head Teacher, Mrs Josephine Haru, was very thankful for the donation. “We do not have books in our school and we are grateful for Oil Search Foundation to bring the books donated by the OSF Leadership and Education team in Port Moresby. The books will go a long way to help the children in their reading skills and their prosperity in the future.”
This year’s theme aligns with OSF’s Leadership and Education strategy that promotes early childhood literacy through the establishment of literacy libraries in its project impact areas in Hela, Southern Highlands and Gulf provinces for children between the ages of 3 and 5 years. OSF also trains locals as teachers and ensures that the libraries are stocked with books and other educational materials working in partnership with the government, churches, BbP and communities.
Peiru Buluke, OSF’s Expansion Programs Assistant was among many who contributed towards the purchase of the books. She said: “Recognising that a lot of communities struggle with low rates of literacy for both children and adults, the little that many of us contributed can make a huge difference in one or two children’s lives.”