On Friday the 9th of May 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. The land for the library has been generously made available by the Tatana Araira Church. The children have already started to come to their new library to enjoy literacy sessions and the many books available.
The building has been built with a donation from the Swiss Embassy in Canberra and the funding to maintain the library is provided by Mahesh Patel, OBE, of City Pharmacy Limited, Australian Aid and long-term Buk bilong Pikinini donors.
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.”
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 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.”