The library at the small fishing village of Tatana island marked ground-breaking work by BbP. The local school had been closed for a few years after the teacher left and the children were being taught by parents in the community hall – bearing in mind that 95% of the adults on Tatana island are unemployed. The need was dire and we were fortunate to have the land for the library donated to us by the Tatana Araira United Church.
On Friday, 9 May 2014, Buk bilong Pikinini opened a library with sponsorship from across the globe. This library marked the 15th library opening in Papua New Guinea and was officially opened by the Australian Foreign Minister Hon. Julie Bishop, Mahesh Patel of CPL and Community leaders.
The library at Tatana Island sits on a beautiful hilltop with a view across the sea and is a traditional Port Moresby fishing village.
Hon. Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister of Australia said: “Today I am delighted to open a library near Port Moresby that, with Australia’s support, will help to improve children’s literacy and boost life opportunities in PNG.The Buk bilong Pikinini – Books for Children – libraries provide age-appropriate reading material to children and their parents, and offer early childhood development and literacy programs, including for the parents of children attending. More than any other skill, reading gives people the ability to learn, participate in formal education and teach themselves. It is the key to self-empowerment and economic independence.”
Scope of learning:
As soon as the library was opened, the children flocked to enjoy the BbP Literacy and Numeracy programme as well as the host of new books that they had access to first time. The Tatana community supported us all the way and we are certain that this library will be life-changing for this traditional fishing community.
The library was built with a generous donation from the Swiss Embassy in Canberra and the maintenance costs are covered by donations from long standing BbP donors, Mahesh Patel OBE of City Pharmacy Limited and Australian Aid.
Mahesh Patel, OBE, of CPL said: “I have decided to donate my fees from my board chairman of Telikom PNG role to Buk bilong Pikinini to pay for the running costs at the Tatana Island library. I believe that the young children in the village will benefit from this library and I hope that our donation to the operations of the library will help improve and make a positive change in the in the lives of the children and the community as a whole.”
Founder of Buk bilong Pikinini, Anne-Sophie Hermann said: “This library represents an amazing collaboration between international corporate donors, an embassy, the Australian Government and a local fishing village. It is wonderful that so many people have come together to support the Tatana Island community Buk bilong Pikinini library to provide valuable learning opportunities for the children there. Buk bilong Pikinini is humbled by the support we currently receive from corporate donors as well as the Australian and PNG Government and believe that literacy is key to unlocking the cycle of poverty that the children and their families find themselves in. Australian Public/ and PNG Private partnerships has been a real vector of growth for Buk bilong Pikinini. ”
The Swiss Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Marcel Stutz said: “Fostering education and promoting literacy is one of the priorities of Swiss Development Cooperation worldwide. The Embassy of Switzerland is therefore delighted to have supported a project for the construction of a school library on Tatana Island. I had the great pleasure to visit a library of Buk bilong Pikinini during my official visit to PNG in September last year. I was very much impressed by the great reading skills of the young children and by their enthusiasm to learn. On the occasion of the opening of the “Swiss” library on Tatana Island, I would like to thank Buk bilong Pikinini and especially Anne-Sophie Hermann for her relentless efforts to realize this project. I wish the Tatana education team great success in bringing the world closer to the young generation of PNG.”
Luke Ebbs, Executive Officer of Buk bilong Pikinini said. “15 libraries is an incredible achievement, made possible through partnerships. We hope that these partnerships continue to prosper so that every town, village and community in PNG has access to the joy and wonder that can only be accessed through good books.”
Our precious children and teacher-librarians:
This is what Maru Korahi had to say on behalf of the community leaders: "It is a privilege and an honor to have a Buk bilong Pikinini library in our community. The church saw the need for their children to have such an important educational asset that they have provided land to build the library. This is the first time such an important asset has been established in Tatana Village. The whole community wishes to thank the generous donors from Switzerland, SnS-CPL group and community leaders Bobby Tau, Heni Madaha, Rev. Siosi Momoru and Rev. Tamasi Eau for making this library a reality, which will benefit all children in our community.”
Dr Stefan Kloetzli, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Switzerland in Australia said:
“Fostering education and promoting literacy is one of the priorities of Swiss Development Cooperation worldwide. The Embassy of Switzerland is therefore delighted to support a project for the construction of a Buk bilong Pikinini library on Tatana Island, which will allow access to books for children of PNG and hopefully awaken their pleasure for reading. We are very pleased to realise this project together with Buk bilong Pikinini, an experienced and well-established organisation in this regard.”
Mike Taylor, General Manager Stop n Shop Supermarkets, CPL Group of companies – who has been highly instrumental in communicating the needs of the community to Buk bilong Pikinini said: “Stop n Shop is so delighted to be able to assist with some of the educational needs of the children of Tatana and surrounding areas. The chance to learn how to read and write gives them a wonderful opportunity as they grow up in their community."
Above left - Mike Taylor, GM of Stop n Shop, signing with BbP Luke Ebbs and above right community leaders Reverend Siosi Mimoro and Heni Madaha signing with Anne-Sophie.
This library is sponsored by: