There’s nowhere to buy a book on Moa Island, 40 kilometres north of Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, between the tip of Cape York and PNG. And while it might be possible to order books online, buying essentials for living is usually the highest priority. As a result, up until recently few kids living on Moa had any access to new books at home.
That all changed when Judy Walker, the principal of Tagai State College on the island put out a call for books. Before long, the school had received donations of books, not only from Australia, but from around the world.
Then, via social media, Judy heard about the work of our Foundation and in 2016 the school received its first boxes of brand new, culturally appropriate books from the ILF Book Supply Program, which topped up the books already received.
“In the first two weeks of school this year we were able to send five books home with each child,” Judy says.
There are just 24 students, from pre-prep to Grade Four, at the Tagai campus on Moa, so some of the books have been put aside to be used as prizes later in the year. Others go directly into the school library. If there are multiple copies of the one title, the teachers make guided reading sets for small groups of their students.
Both fiction and non-fiction books are popular with the kids, for most of whom Yumpla Talk (Torres Strait Creole) is their first language, with English being taught once they start school.
The parents often comment on the quality of the books from the ILF Book Supply Program and say how much they value having a little bookcase at home filled with books the kids really enjoy.
“It’s a wonderful program, excellent. The kids are really benefiting from having more books. Having access to books is so important.”
- Posted 24 September, 2019