Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fiji kids and reading

from w
In some Fiji villages and farm settlements there is a real scarcity of reading material and even in many schools in Fiji. Despite the numerous donations from overseas by groups such as Rotary, there still is a need for more books and apparently small libraries in villages. In Vuo village near Malau Port out of Labasa, the poor reading skills of the children was noticed and something was done about it with the establishment of a small library, table and chairs. Not that children need chairs - I have noticed that children can still read lying flat on the floor! The main point is of course appropriate reading material.

Here in Geelong we sort books every Tuesday and Wednesday mornings to pack into containers for Fiji (though a glitch in Fiji customs has stopped that at present by demanding high duty rates even on secondhand goods), Papua New Guinea, etc. But I wonder if some of the books such as sets of encyclopaedias with small print are really helpful for primary school students. Sometimes we pack really beautiful books, but at other times, the books are a bit old. Anyway, good on you Vuo for the initiative at the local level.

Of course the eco-tourism visitors to Vorovoro over three years have given many books to the school on nearby Mali Island. Way to go.

Village library lifts literacy
from Fiji Sun
Children of Vuo Village in Labasa received a boost to their literacy with the establishment of a village library. The need for a library was highlighted by the Vuo Bhartiya Primary School headteacher Bal Sanju Reddy. The library was part of the school’s community outreach programme and was set up with the assistance of the Ministry of Information’s Department of Library Services.

Children of Vuo village in Labasa now have a table to study on and access to educational information after the successful establishment of a library yesterday. The need for a library set-up was raised by the school management and Vuo village community with the Ministry of Information’s Department of Library Services. “There are about 32 preschool students and primary school students in Vuo Village that attend my school,’’ Mr Reddy said.

He said these students in the past usually gathered every afternoon from school under a bure in the village to do their assignment. “Students used to sit on the floor to study in an overcrowded room since there was no study table and chairs,” Mr Reddy said. He said thanks to the Department of Library Services not only do the children have a table to place their books for study but now they have a library to access needed information.

“Now the children don’t have to pay extra money to travel to Labasa Town to gather information from the libraries to compile their projects instead they can visit their doorstep library,” Mr Reddy said. Mr Reddy said this library would not only serve the Vuo village students but also the other nearby school students.

Department of Library Services project officer Vasenai Bai said in the library one can find fiction books, non-fiction books, reference collection and Pacific collection. “In the library we had placed a big table that can cater 12 students and an issue desk,” Miss Bai said.

She said also she had placed a blackboard, compiled Fiji Focus special lift outs from the Fiji Sun newspaper and put up numerical charts on the walls.
There are some lovely photos of the people of Vuo village on flickr so a google search of 'Fiji Day Vuo Village' will find the photos taken (probably) by one of the tribewanted visitors to Vorovoro Island. I wasn't allowed to download them!


Freewind said...

We have been sailing up to Fiji from NZ every year and try to bring one or two cartons of kids books which we donate to the local schools or libraries. The Island Cruising Association has at least 20 boats sail from NZ to Tonga and Fiji and always stop at Savusavu. If you contact Joyn and Lyn Martin (www.islandcruising.co.nz)and ask them if they can organise delivery of some kids books, I'm sure they will be able to collect second-hand books and get them to Savusavu and up to Lambasa on the bus. This way you will avoid the customs problem. Good luck,
Ron and Dalia Jones, yacht Freewind.

Joan said...

Oh my god, there's a lot of useful info in this post!

Merewalesi Vueti said...

Have read the comments and I just want to inform you that it would be helpful to get the donations through to Library Services of Fiji, as we will get it cleared from customs office. Literacy is one area that Fiji Children are desperately need assistance to excel, thus we are working hard to try and assist them through provision of reading materials and establishing libraries but i think that in itself is not enough.

Merewalesi Vueti
Library Services of Fiji
P.O.Box 2526
Government Building

Ph. 679 9904266/ 679 3315 303