A Southampton charity is launching a library with a difference to tackle plummeting child literacy on tiny, isolated islets in the Philippines.
International maritime charity Sailors’ Society, based in Woolston, has built a special floating library to bring books to children on Bantayan Island, as well as tiny neighbouring islets which do not have schools or a library.
The boat will dock at beaches and crew will unload a reading hub of books, mats and tables, where up to 30 children at a time can come together to read, listen to stories and enjoy other activities.
Sandra Welch, COO of Sailors’ Society, said: “There are thousands of children living across these islands. Many of them come from incredibly poor seafaring communities, where there has been a dramatic decline in reading because parents are too busy working to read with their kids and books are considered a luxury.”
One of the children who will have access to the book boat, Rogelyn Chavez, 15, said: “We don’t have a library, so I used to borrow books from my teachers which I also shared with my classmates, or we had to take a small boat to go to the school library on the mainland.
“Now that we have this boat library, I can access and borrow books for myself without sharing. I’m very thankful because we have many choices of books to select from.”
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