One of our trustees, Danny Lee, wrote this wonderful piece about Books in Homes Australia. Give it a read below.
Originally Published in The Tatts Edition Issue 10 June/July 2015
If you have read a book lately it is unlikely that you thumbed through a hard copy paperback, more likely it was an e-book made available courtesy of the Internet.
Have you ever given a thought however to those people, particularly children, with no access to digital literature — whether because of socio-economic circumstances or the tyranny of remoteness?
This was certainly something that struck a chord with Danny Lee — general manager monitoring operations, Maxgaming — who, along with his fellow trustees and the staff/volunteers at Sydney based charity Books in Homes Australia, has taken up the challenge to ensure the gift of literacy is available to all.
Inspired by Maori author Alan Duff — who wrote the widely acclaimed book Once Were Warriors — the Books in Homes Australia Programme was founded on the realisation that failure in adult life often stemmed from childhoods spent in homes without books, and that a child who cannot read often becomes an adult who cannot communicate.
The Books in Homes vision is to re-awaken a sense of wonder in children and excitement in parents, by creating an Australia where every child and family has access to books-of-choice at home.
To achieve the vision it provides books-of-choice to families and children living in remote and low socio-economic circumstances, ensuring crucial early literacy engagement and the development of reading skills needed for lifelong success. With a low level of literacy in indigenous communities Books in Homes also attempts to appeal to the children by ensuring 25% of titles on offer are either written or illustrated by Indigenous creators.
The programme is funded solely from Governments’ grants, sponsorship and donations. Sponsors are from large corporate organisations as well as mum and dads making small but valuable monthly donations.
Danny personally sponsors two schools, Urbenville Public School in Northern NSW, and Murputja Anangu School which is close to the convergence of the SA, NT and WA borders — what you might call remote.
The majority of students at Murputja are Anangu and their first language is Pitjantjatjara or Yankunytjatjara as this is usually the language spoken at home. The students are only introduced to English when they start school. A significant influencing factor for Anangu communities and schools is the transient nature of the population. The school can have students who attend for periods of days or weeks and then return to their home communities.
Combined, however, they have a grand total of 63 kids who have received almost 200 books already this year.
Danny hopes to get to both schools in the next six to twelve months to attend a book giving ceremony and experience the joy of giving, which comes from the smiles on the kids’ faces.
For under $90 per annum a child can participate in the programme. You too could make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. Just log onto the Books in Homes website www.booksinhomesaustralia.com.au and read more to see how you could get involved.