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Give the Gift of Reading This Christmas

 

I’m a bit of a bah-humbug when it comes to christmas cheer.

As soon as I see the twin towers of mince pies strategically placed to ambush me at the supermarket entrance and plastic santa-etched wine glasses on special offer I think, “oh baubles, what a waste of money.”

 

Image by Flowofwoe supplied under creative commons licence

Besides, until a few years ago I associated christmas with mulled wine, runny noses and bad pullovers. I still struggle a bit to find the  fa-la-la-la-la spirit in the sub tropics when I’m trundling my trolley up and down supercharged air-conditioned aisles in flip-flops (thongs) buying salad for dinner again.

Paul and I more often than not spend Christmas away. Our picture frames haven’t seen a tacky bit of tinsel for years and I still have unopened packs of cards wasting in that drawer after being lulled into the conveniently connected webbed-world for sending messages of christmas merriment.

On behalf of both of us, I apologise profusely in advance to our friends and relations who still send us beautifully handwritten cards. In recognition of your time and effort, every year instead of sending cards, we make a donation to charity.

This year, we donated the money to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) to buy books for children in remote communities in Australia.

It really is hard to get your head around how big Australia is until you travel through it and understand the challenges faced in some communities. Despite the fact that Australia is a rich country, only roughly a third of people in remote communities have access to a library and books.

Toddler reading

Image supplied by The Indigenous Literacy Foundation

As a child in the UK I took books for granted seen as though they were freely available to everyone through schools and libraries.

In 2012 the ILF supplied 85,000 books in 230 remote communities. The foundation started from humble beginnings after Suzy Wilson – an independent bookshop owner – set up what has grown into one of Australia’s great success stories in its own right, making a real difference to the lives of children in remote communities. A read of the ILF’s history reveals why it works so well.

Image supplied by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

Relationships with communities have been built on respect, understanding and true consultation. More than half of Indigenous families living in very remote communities speak an Indigenous language in the home. (ABS, 2001)  Therefore, some children need extra assistance to learn English as a second language. The foundation promotes both cultural and English literacy side-by-side.

 

The books are selected by an Indigenous literacy specialist in consultation with childrens’ book specialists and elders within the communities and the foundation has translated some books into local language.

But I think the icing on the Christmas cake is that some of the children have become writers and their stories have been published.

Image supplied by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

The Naked Boy and the Crocodile is a collection of thirteen stories written by children aged 5-10 years, living in remote communities across Australia.

Children tell tales of playing with friends, riding motorbikes, picking berries, hunting for emu eggs and wild pigs.

For christmas, why not give your child a window into this special part of Australia while giving a child in a remote community the gift of reading? $16.99 will buy the book and send two more books to children in remote communities.

The book can be ordered directly from the foundation here  A list of bookshops is here (ABC deliver internationally).

You can also donate to the foundation  on behalf of a relative or friend. If you do it before 17th December they will send a christmas card to let them know. How ironic is that? Ho Ho Ho.

Merry Christmas.

 

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Tracey Croke is a journalist, travel writer, photographer and adventurist, specialising in stories about roughty-toughty travel, offtrack adventure and anything involving a bike

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6 Responses to Give the Gift of Reading This Christmas

  1. Johanna @ The Zigazag Mag December 11, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

    What a lovely idea Tracey! And what a noble thing to do. I’ve also stopped sending Christmas Cards and you have paved the way for me to do something that makes a difference instead.
    Johanna @ The Zigazag Mag recently posted..Bali. The split gate to Heaven and Hell, so close to Western Australia.My Profile

  2. Leigh December 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    I think anything that encourages reading is brilliant and this sounds like an extremely worthy charity. Reading really is a window into another world and I know as a kid reading was a big part of my life. Good for you.
    Leigh recently posted..11 National Parks in Canada You Probably Haven’t Heard OfMy Profile

    • Tracey | Chronic Adventures December 11, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

      Thanks Leigh. I really like to research and understand causes I support and I think this project works so well because in the very remote communities children learn to read and write in English without loosing their first language which protects the unique knowledge locked into that language. The project is growing exponentially each year.
      Tracey | Chronic Adventures recently posted..Give the Gift of Reading This ChristmasMy Profile

  3. Emily @ Indigenous Literacy Foundation December 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Thanks for writing this blog Tracey! It really helps us to have people who spread the word about the work that we do. Our Foundation wants to raise funds to address help literacy in remote communities and we also want people thinking about the challenges that are faced by kids in these communities. We appreciate your support of our Christmas campaign & wish you a very merry Christmas!

    Emily Wiech
    ILF Coordinator

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