Abbotsleigh Recycles Books to Rural Papua New Guinea
Books provide the power of knowledge and knowledge opens the door to so many opportunities. As Abbotsleigh girls, we are so fortunate to be surrounded by endless educational resources that it can be easy to forget the value of books. However, did you know that the books that we take for granted or no longer use are desperately needed in other countries?
Talking to the Heads of Departments, we found that there was a surplus of quality textbooks that were no longer part of the NSW curriculum and therefore of no use. Although they wished to donate these books to areas of need, the opportunity to do so was very limited because of the costs involved and the logistics of transporting the books.
In addition, after each school year, we all end up with a pile of textbooks that we no longer need and we are at a loose end as to what to do with them.
These books would most likely go to landfill and with the high rate of disposal that our consumeristic society already generates, we needed to do something about it. We were so fortunate to be put in contact with an Abbotsleigh parent who kindly organises the collection and distribution of second-hand books from Sydney to rural schools in Papua New Guinea.
In Term 2 both the Junior school (through Sasha Seeto, 5O) and Senior School held a drive to collect second-hand books and textbooks. The response was fantastic with several Abbotsleigh departments donating hundreds of textbooks and many students donating their own books or textbooks from previous years. These books were stored in the garage of Mrs Seeto who then packed them into the spare space of shipping containers. Sasha's grandmother works closely with many of the schools and hospitals in the rural areas of PNG and the Seeto family distributes the books themselves to save handling costs.
Sasha and Mrs Seeto first distributed books to East New Britain Province, which is a rural and agricultural area. The schools they selected were large in size but lacked educational resources. Many of the schools were selected by the Seeto family; however, Mrs Seeto also asked a member of Parliament to select some remote schools that needed the resources.
Without an initiative like this, it is impossible for a child in rural Papua New Guinea to gain access to educational books. Most of the schools do not have funding and therefore many schools are forced to close down. Teachers may not be paid for months and many schools are not able to provide up-to-date information for their students. There are no school or public libraries.
New textbooks are expensive and most students struggle to afford books. The wide variety of books donated by Abbotsleigh were given to teachers as teaching materials, and to students as extra resources.
The books were given to a ranges of schools from preschool through to tertiary institutions and these are the schools that were supported:
• Rabaul Play School
• Kokopo Primary
• Ranguna Elementary
• St Mary's Vuvu Secondary
• Takubar Elementary
• Viviran Primary
• Tauran Primary
• Malabunga Secondary
• Destiny Elementary
• Chanel Teachers' College
We would like to thank all students and Heads of Departments for their generous donations.