Photo: Habele Directors assemble a portion of the donated books for the Island of Satawal.
More than $700 in donated books are on their way to community libraries in the central Pacific, thanks to a US-based charity called "Habele."
The donation, comprised primarily of books dealing with Micronesian and Oceanic topics, is headed to the Atolls of Woleai and Lamotrek as well as the Island of Satawal. All three are located among the Outer Islands of Yap State, itself one of four states in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
The books are just the most recent in a years long series of Habele donations to schools across Yap and Chuuk States.
Despite millions of dollars in direct government-to-government support from the US to the FSM, many of the public schools on remote Outer and Lagoon Islands of Micronesia still lack basic instructional materials.
According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), public sector spending of foreign government assistance comprises 65% of the entire Micronesian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite the massive aid, the GOA concludes that "the FSM has limited prospects for achieving budgetary self-reliance and long-term economic advancement." It also cites limited academic achievement as a major impediment to employment among Micronesians both in the US and the FSM.
The Habele Outer Island Education began directly supporting libraries and schools across Micronesia in 2006. More than thirty boxes of textbooks, reference books and reading materials have been provided directly to public school educators in Micronesia so far this year. Habele also provides assistance for students attending private schools through a program of K-12 tuition scholarships.
"We think education is the key to development in Micronesia and across the Pacific" explained Alex Sidles, a Habele Director. "But we can't rely on the the one-size-fits-all approach of big government bureaucracies to meet the specific needs of each student or school." ###
UPDATE: The books made it to Yap Proper and are waiting for the last leg of their journey on the field trip ship out to the Outer Islands