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Library books project for highlands schools is well underway

Murray Bladwell packs another boxKEITH JACKSON

IF you ever want a job done and a job done well, then you’d be scanning the crowd for a bloke like my old Simbu mate of 50 years – and counting – Murray Bladwell.

“We pack ‘em then stack ‘em” is the motto of Murray and his Toowong Rotarians colleague Ted Horsbrugh, who have taken on the massive task of preparing 36,000 children’s books for distribution to schools in the Papua New Guinea highlands.

So far they have carefully categorised and packed more than 6,000 books leaving another 30,000 to go.

The first 50 boxes containing an estimated 300 books each have been packed and stored at Rotary’s donations -in-kind storage facility in Brisbane.

Hard at work loading booksNational Storage of Indooroopilly generously donated the first 100 storage boxes in support of the project. As Murray says, corporate supporters are vital in major projects like this one.

Two working-bees at the Ipswich Drug-Arm facility on 26 and 30 September involved 25 people sorting over six tonnes of books. Some 30 boxes of children’s books were retrieved.

Murray reports that the team has also been fortunate to obtain over 70 bays of good quality library shelving and fittings (seen behind Ted in this photo).

The plan is to have each primary and secondary school receive a set of shelving and several boxes of books which will form the basis of a “starter” library.

Murray says that locating large volumes of suitable books for children is a major challenge. You can email him here if you’re able to assist.



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Daniel Ipan Kumbon

Terry, I sent the following letter of appreciation on the email address you provided. But am posting here as well for all to see your generosity.

I am Daniel Kumbon, a journalist who works and lives in Wabag, Enga Province. I am also a parent concerned with the dropping literacy rate in my province and country.

Thank you for the kind offer to donate books to schools here. My province is indeed backward. There are many schools in the province without proper resources. Most have no library books.

I will distribute the books to selected schools here together with the 2015 Crocodile Prize Anthologies.

I have a box of books of the anthologies in Port Moresby already. I had them sent there because I do not trust the postal service here. My son is going down to pick them up this week. I hope to distribute them together with your donations to the selected schools before the year is out.

Please send the books to:

Daniel Kumbon
C/O Mark Sakol
Wabag Primary School
P. o. Box 104
WABAG, Enga Province
Papua New Guinea.

Air Niugini makes daily flights to Wapenamanda in Enga province.If the books come via Air Niugini air cargo, we will safely receive them here.

Thank you very much.

Daniel Doyle

So, the Simbu Writers Association goes from strength to strength with its latest plan for SWA Corners in schools. That plus the Toowong Rotarians efforts, the Crocodile Prize, Pukpuk Publishing and the project to supply Kindles to schools in Bougainville will surely support reading and literacy efforts in those areas.

But what a damning indictment it is that such voluntary efforts are desperately needed because of the failure of government to supply schools with adequate teaching and learning materials.

Daniel Ipan Kumbon

Thank you Terry for the kind response. I will send the details on the email address you have provided by next week Tuesday.

Thank you once again.

Daniel Kumbon
Wabag, Enga Province.

Terry Shelley

Daniel if you wish to forward your schools details I am sure we can make an exception and give a parcel of books.

We believe that all kids deserve the right to knowledge if they are from Wagga Wagga-Wabag or Washington.

Send details care of me at [email protected]

Francis Nii

Thank you so much Murray and the team in Toowong and Terry and the family in Goroka.

A new program planned by Simbu Writers Association for primary, high and secondary schools in Simbu in 2016 is to establish a SWA Corner in the school library where SWA donated books including those authored by SWA members will be kept for students to read.

The idea is that we can check from time to time to ensure that the books do not grow legs and walk away.

The donated books will be kept in the SWA Corner.

Daniel Ipan Kumbon

My province Enga is on the end of the line from Lae. The provincial capital is aptly named 'Wayback' (Wabag). We have a lot of catching up to do. Can someone tell us how such donations of precious books can be accessed?

Busa Jeremiah Wenogo

Thank you very much for this wonderful project. By the way is it possible for other schools in the highlands to be part of the project?

Bessielah David

A worthwhile project indeed. Are these books sponsored and shipped to specific highlands schools or are these books donated?

The books are donated and are being sent to schools in the Eastern Highlands and Simbu provinces free of charge courtesy of Toowong Rotary and Terry Shelley of Nowek Plantation - KJ

Hazel Kutkue

A wonderful project.

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