Can you imagine not being able to read a newspaper, a road sign or directions on a bottle of medication? Sadly, this is a reality faced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in remote communities today.
The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) aims to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions.
The Foundation first began in 2004 when educator and bookshop owner, Suzy Wilson (Riverbend Books in Queensland) set up a Challenge in partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation and Ian Thorpe’s Foundation for Youth Trust, to raise money for Indigenous literacy. Suzy wanted to help people in remote Indigenous communities where there is little access to books and where children often grow up with little or no ability to read. She posed the question, ‘Can you imagine a world without books and reading?’
Over the past two years the project has sent over 60,000 books to more than 200 remote communities across Australia. It has launched Book Buzz, an early literacy project and has worked with communities on specific literacy projects, including translating books into local language and recording indigenous stories.
The project has raised over $1.3 million in the past five years thanks to the generous support of publishers, booksellers, schools, businesses and individuals.
In 2011 The Indigenous Literacy Foundation will provide books and literacy resources in homes, community centres, women’s centres, schools, health centres and other organisations in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. On Indigenous Literacy Day, 7 September 2011, events will be held around Australia to raise awareness of indigenous literacy issues. Boomerang Books will donate 10% of its takings from 7 September 2011 to the foundation.
A special book for Indigenous Literacy Day – The Naked Boy and the Crocodile
A special book, entitled The Naked Boy and the Crocodile, is being published in 2011 to support indigenous literacy.
In the past few years as an ILF ambassador, Andy Griffiths has travelled around Australia with other members of the Australian book industry to conduct writing workshops with students in remote communities.
The students were given small blank “books” and invited to fill these books – using both picture and words – with a story based on their own lives. These stories could be true or fictional or a mixture of both. They could be dramatic, funny or simply about an activity they love.
The thirteen stories included in this book tell tales of playing with friends, riding motorbikes, picking berries, hunting for emu eggs and wild pigs, terrifying turkeys and angry mamus.
‘The Naked Boy and the Crocodile’ will be published by Pan Macmillan Australia in September 2011.
You can buy a copy of The Naked Boy and the Crocodile here and contribute to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation…