The first of over twelve schools to benefit from the United States Embassy book drive yesterday received twenty-five boxes of textbooks.
Over the next week, the ‘Faitau = Atamai’ drive will ensure that the gifting of reading, maths and science textbooks is replicated at schools in both Upolu and Savai’i.
The programme, which has drawn on a multitude of partners, was initiated by Mark Gilbert, U.S Ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand, and his wife Nancy Gilbert.
Over four-hundred boxes of textbooks were collected by the Pittsburgh based Brother’s Brother Foundation which aims to connect recourses to needs.
The Ministry of Education, Sports and Cultures assisted by transporting the textbooks to Samoa and identifying the schools to receive the donations.
Storage, cataloguing, and distribution of the textbooks is being handled by the Apia Rotary Club and the usage of the books in schools is to be facilitated by the Peace Corps program.
Described by the Charge D’Affaires of the American Embassy Samoa, Angelina Wilkinson, as “multi-grade books, they are multi-level books” she believes that “these books will enhance the reading skills they will also help the children understand better as they go through the grades.”
Addressing the students she also explained the objectives of the “Faitau = Atamai’ book drive.
“Our intention is that in one form or another, these text books will broaden your horizons and provide additional support for teachers and students here at Aele,” she said.
While the morning at Aele Primary School begins with a reading program, the school’s newly built library was in need of more books, explained the Principal Aumua Fuatai Simanu.
“We have just finished building the library. We need more books, more relevant books, because what is there is not relevant for the primary.”
The donation of twenty-five boxes came as a welcome surprise.
“We didn’t know anything about it until yesterday. We didn’t expect this assistance. We were thinking how are we going to get new books for our library?
“We are very grateful, grateful indeed. We are overwhelmed with the assistance. It will help us to eliminate the at-risk in literacy level and numeracy.”
Gregory Beiler, a Peace Corps worker on a two year placement at Aele Primary School, stressed the importance of the literacy drive, stating that “readers are leaders”.