Schools in Auckland and Dunedin have answered an appeal from Cottonsoft to recycle books they no longer need by donating them to learning centres in Indonesia as part of the Cottonsoft Books for Change campaign.
The initiative, which was launched in mid-November, offers students in schools in Auckland and Dunedin the opportunity to give a second life to books they no longer need by donating them to children in Indonesia. Fairfield School in Dunedin and Tyndale Park Christian School in Auckland are among the generous schools which have already donated books to be shipped to Indonesia.
Cottonsoft’s Country Manager, Kim Calvert, says he is delighted with the response to date.
"We have already received a fantastic response from schools and it’s great to see so many young students embrace the chance to give a helping hand to Indonesian children their own age who may not have the same opportunities.
"That’s what the Cottonsoft Books for Change initiative is all about. We hope to not only provide Indonesian children with access to books that will help them develop their English, but also give New Zealand children an insight into what it is like to grow up in an emerging economy.
"We are now appealing to more schools in Auckland and Dunedin to get on board and help us collect as many books as possible. The books will be shipped to four learning centres set up by our supplier Asia Pulp and Paper to support disadvantaged communities in East Java and Sumatra.
"A number of schools have indicated interest in the initiative and have begun canvassing students to bring in unwanted books from home, while others have seized the chance to give books a second life following the annual clean-out of the school library over the summer holidays."
It is hoped that Books for Change will not only help Indonesian children, whose education is hindered by limited access to reading material, but also establish pen pal relationships and foster understanding between Kiwi and Indonesian kids.
The mission is endorsed by children’s author and radio host Justin Brown, who visited one of the learning centres in his capacity as official ‘books champion’, and by the Indonesian ambassador to New Zealand.
Ambassador Agus Sriyono says the Indonesian Embassy is pleased that through the programme, Cottonsoft is promoting the importance of reading to Indonesian children and to Indonesian communities in general.
Kiwi kids will be offered the chance to share their name, age, and school address in the covers of donated books, to support the possibility of correspondence and friendship with recipient children. This establishment of an alliance between the next generation of New Zealanders and Indonesians has been one of many triggers of the campaign for Cottonsoft.
"Our hope is that connections will be built between New Zealand schools and Indonesian communities, and that Kiwi and Indonesian children will begin their own chapter of friendship," says Darragh Brennan, Sustainability and Communications Manager for Cottonsoft.
Freight company Oceanbridge will ship and distribute the donated books across to Indonesia at no charge. Oceanbridge’s Christchurch branch manager Mark Corner says Oceanbridge offered its services to commend Cottonsoft’s efforts in starting the initiative.
"Indonesia has been a valuable and inviting trade partner for many New Zealand businesses, and it is great to be able to support an initiative that will see their children enjoy the same degree of education that many of our kids take for granted.
"Oceanbridge, Cottonsoft’s freight partner, has watched the company’s great effort in developing Books for Change and wanted to get involved and share some of the workload. Providing free shipping seemed the perfect answer to help the Books for Change campaign get off the ground."
Cottonsoft will offer prizes of iPads for the top school donations and independently add to the learning centre libraries upon completion. The libraries will also be topped up with the help of publishers and other organizations Cottonsoft is inviting to join.
Students can donate new or old books to the programme through their schools, and all books that are age- and culture-appropriate and in good condition will be accepted. Intermediate schools will need to register their interest at firstname.lastname@example.org before February 2013. Upon registering they will receive a letter about how to participate in the international venture.
The campaign will wrap up in February 2013.
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