September the 7th is Indigenous Literacy Day and we will be donating 10% of our sales from this day to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.
I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) and the great work that they are doing.
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is a national charity of the Australian Book Industry. Their aim is to reduce the disadvantage experienced by children in very remote Indigenous communities across Australia. The focus of the ILF is to improve literacy rates and instil a lifelong love of reading. Our programs focus on creating a special relationship with reading from an early age with free books, some in First language, and though publishing stories from communities.
In May of this year I travelled to the Tiwi Islands to see the ILF in action. We were a group of nine, five ILF staff and Board members and four ambassadors - Richard Flanagan, Alison Lester, William Barton and Jared Thomas. On Melville Island we ran a series of workshops with kids at Milikapitti School and Tiwi College. It is hard to put into words how amazing the response was to these workshops. As part of the program children and community members also received books to take home and enjoy. Living in the city it is hard to imagine a world without books or even a world without any written signage but in Australia’s most remote and disadvantaged communities there is nothing and whilst literacy might be second to everyday survival the opportunity to make lasting change in communities is there and must be embraced.
Book Buzz supplies books to play groups and appropriate community contacts for the youngest of children. The Book Buzz program also translates books into First language so the books are more accessible for families where English might be their second of third language.
Book Supply provides a range of books to communities. These books are carefully selected to be culturally relevant and interesting with the long term goal of cultivating a culture of literacy. So far in 2016, the ILF has distributed 50,000 books to 210 communities and have plans to expand to another 50 communities over the next year.
Last, but not least is the Community Publishing Program which involves sharing and documenting stories making Indigenous stories available to their community but also sometimes to a wider audience. Some of these books are commercially available, please pop in to the shop and look at No Way Yirrikipayi! a fabulous collaboration between the children of Milikapiti school and Alison Lester or Tiwi Girl which was written by the Senior Girls from Tiwi College.
This year on Indigenous Literacy Day the Spinifex Writing Camp will be launching their new book - The Goanna was Hungry. A great book showcasing the efforts of ten young writers from Tjuntjuntjara, Mt Margaret, Menzies and Melbourne working with acclaimed author/illustrators Sally Morgan and Ann James.
Justine Clarke, Josh Pyke and Deborah Cheetham, all of whom are ILF’s Ambassadors, have produced a fabulous song called “Words Make the World Go Round”. The children from Gawura Campus at St Andrew’s School have joined them on this catchy song.
The ILF raises all its money without any government funding. They rely on the book industry, publishers and most importantly any person who believes it is a child’s right to be functionally literate and able to read and write.
What you can do to help
- Make a donation to the ILF
- Buy a book from us on 7th September and be safe in the knowledge that 10% of the sale price will be donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation
- Every time you have a book wrapped at the Potts Point Bookshop make a gold coin donation which is then given to the ILF
- Buy one of the books that are available through the community publishing program. We have them in the shop
- Buy the great new song “Words Make the World Go Round”