Buk bilong Pikinini, an independent charity based in Port Moresby was set up in 2007 by Anne-Sophie Hermann, the spouse of the Australian High Commissioner to PNG and Anna Mukerjee when they realized that there was an urgent need for children’s books and libraries in PNG.
When Papua New Guinea attained independence from Australia in 1975 there were 32 libraries in Port Moresby alone, but these have all but disappeared and the state of public and school libraries is in steep decline.
“Illiteracy is very high in this country and there are few opportunities for children to access books to read”, Ms Hermann said. “Research has shown that the earlier books can be introduced into a child’s life, the more chance there is of that child becoming literate”. “It is up to everyone in PNG to encourage their children to read and advocate for opening of public libraries in this country”, she said.
The first Buk bilong Pikinini library was set up in April 2008 in the tuberculosis, malnutrition and HIV ward of the Port Moresby General Hospital and the second library was set up in September the same year at the Red Cross Special Education and Resource Centre in Hohola. A third library will be opened on 5 June 2009 at the Lawes Road Clinic in Konedobu.
The Lawes Road clinic is one of Port Moresby’s busiest urban clinics with hundreds of children attending daily from nearby settlements – where they have had little or no access to books. The library will provide children with some entertainment during their long wait and an opportunity for families to discover the joys of reading.
“I am proud to accept this honour and hope that my continued support will help this amazing charity open more libraries across Papua New Guinea to help occupy children’s time, provide them with education and stimulate their growing imagination through books, music and toys” Christine Anu said. Anne-Sophie Hermman, Founder and President of Buk bilong Pikinini said, “we are delighted to have Christine Anu’s accept our invitation to be Parton for our charity and with continued hard work and Christine’s support we hope to open many more libraries throughout PNG”.
Media Inquiries: Anne-Sophie Hermann, T: 320 2244, M: 695 7798, E: firstname.lastname@example.org