Climbing to the top for literacy


FOUR young enthusiastic climbers have accepted the challenge to reach new heights while raising funds for non-profit organisation, Lawyers4Literacy (L4L) Inc, for its book donation programme.
The youths will be climbing Mt Wilhelm in Chimbu with the aim to raise K10,000 that would go towards delivering children’s reading books and other learning materials to schools in East Sepik, West Sepik and Manus next year.
The four youths include Stanisha Alopea, 25, from Southern Highlands who is an accountant with Oil Search Ltd. She loves to help the needy.
The reason she’s supporting this cause is because there are kids out there in need for quality education.
“And if this book drive will bring them one step closer to achieving their dreams, I want to be a part of it.”
Elijah Abeleye 25, from Western Highlands and Chimbu is a second year civil engineering student at the PNG University of Technology. He finds happiness and satisfaction in making other people happy.
“The reason why I support this cause is because reading is important as it develops our thoughts and gives us endless knowledge.
“This book drive can help someone in the rural area to become the person he/she wants to become.”
Allan Siarivita, 26, from East New Britain and Gulf works with the BSP Financial Group Ltd.
The reason he chose to support this cause was that children loved to learn new things.
“Knowledge is obtained through reading that’s why I support this cause to give children access to reading materials so they can grow in knowledge.”
Joanne Siarivita, 33, from East New Britain and Gulf, is a financial reporting analyst with Oil Search Ltd.
The reason she supports this cause was because she loves reading as it opens the mind to endless possibilities.
“Supporting this drive is an opportunity to spark a passion for reading and gaining knowledge in young people.”
The association was established in 2015 and comprised of 10 female lawyers with the aim to collect gently used reading books and learning materials to deliver to schools in rural elementary and primary schools throughout the country.
Association president Stephanie Alopea said as a group of lawyers, they understood through their personal experiences the important role that reading played in literacy at an early age.
She said reading was an integral part of one’s life and it could be for many children in Papua New Guinea.
Since its establishment in 2015, the association has delivered over 7,000 books including learning materials and used computers, book shelves, solar lights and board games to 10 schools in the Highlands region.
The association had also sourced and donated other learning materials such as activity books for elementary school students, board games, puzzles, teacher’s materials, and assisted some schools with the building of bookshelves to store their books.
During its book donations, the members advocate to village communities about the importance of reading and the rights of all children with an emphasis on the female child to quality education.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all L4L fundraising activities were disrupted in 2020 and we didn’t reach our budget of K20,000.
“We now have to be creative with our fundraising ideas,” Alopea said.
“When we heard these young enthusiastic individuals were planning to climb Mt Wilhelm, we approached them to see if they were interested in climbing whilst supporting L4L’s programme to deliver books to East and West Sepik and Manus in 2022.
“Thankfully, they jumped at the opportunity to support this worthy cause.”
Alopea said PNG has always had reports of having low literacy rates.
“This we believe will greatly improve if every school in PNG has a functioning library stocked with reading books where children are encouraged to read more.
“English is not our first language however in this day and age, valuing education and learning the English language through it provides an opportunity for children to create better futures for themselves and contribute to nation building.
“L4L believes that when children have access to reading books, it is a great start to broadening their thinking and creating a love for reading which is key to doing well in every subject in school that is taught in English.
“Schools in rural communities don’t have the luxury of books readily available for children to read, that is why L4L focuses on delivering books to schools in rural communities.
“There is also an accelerated growth in the use of electrical gadgets and social media exposure that is having a huge impact on the literacy levels of school aged children.
“Educated parents must realise that literacy and reading is a shared responsibility that starts at home by making time to read with our children and also limiting their screen time.
“For parents in the villages who are illiterate and don’t have electricity, this is a challenge and teachers are mostly responsible for creating a culture of reading with students.
“L4L hopes that the future leaders of PNG who are being educated in rural schools have access to quality reading books to develop a love for reading and thereby contribute to improving the literacy level rates in PNG.”
l The climbers started climbing Mt Wilhelm on Wednesday, June 23. After a four-hour trek from the base camp, they would have reached the two lakes (Pinde and Yaundo) at around 3pm. After a rest at a guest house there they started the ascent at 3am yesterday, expecting to reach the summit at dawn to catch the sunrise.
The association is thrilled to have reached more than half of its targeted amount of K10,000 thanks to Moni Plus Heduru Moni Ltd, Club Niugini in Mt Hagen and support from individuals.