Digital books feed Grace’s thirst for reading
Braving sharks and crocodiles on her way to school every day isn’t the biggest challenge seven-year-old Grace* faces as she struggles to get a quality education.
To get to her school in the Solomon Islands, Grace has a half-hour walk through a coconut plantation and has to pass liquor stores where drunken men sometimes prey on innocent little children like her. .
Grace says, “I’m afraid of drunk people and falling coconuts along the road on my way to school.”
But this is only the first part of his journey. Grace’s school is located on the neighboring island, accessible only by motorboat. With sharks and crocodiles in the water, this is definitely not a trip for the faint-hearted.
Grace has to drive a motorboat to go to school.
Photo: Patrick Fugui/Save the Children.
For this seven-year-old girl, the difficulty of going to school every day is something she must overcome to build her future.
“Despite the risks, I still go to school because we don’t have a school in our community, and I want to achieve my dreams.”
A perilous journey to a school with not enough books
Grace is just one of many children in the Solomon Islands who are so eager to learn that they make the daily commute to school, no matter what the challenges. Unfortunately, when they finally get there, they find that there are few books and educational materials to help them continue learning.
Natasha Sokeleke, program manager of Save the Children’s Library For All in the Solomon Islands, shares children’s experiences. “Even if they attend classes, there is nothing to motivate them inside the classroom. There are bare walls and not enough books. It’s sad to see five or six students sharing a single reading book.
She keeps, “There are not enough choices of books in school libraries that they can read in their free time.”
50 million children worldwide will not learn to read
A study conducted by UNESCO indicates that 50 million children in the world will not learn to read despite their schooling. Lack of access to quality reading material is one of the main factors.
To help solve this problem, Library For All has worked with local Solomon Islands authors to produce books that reflect their culture. Last year we published 350 new children’s books, including those written in a local dialect, Arosi.