Dictionaries Donated to Micronesia

Photo: the first boxes of dictionaries are picked up by Yap DOE at the FSM Post Office in Colonia, Yap.

A US-based nonprofit organization has sent a thousand English language dictionaries to the State of Yap, Micronesia (FSM).

Yap is one of four states comprising the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) a far-reaching chain of tiny picturesque islands strung across the Central Pacific. The nation, a long time ally of the United States, enjoys a status of “Free Association” with the US. It is best known to many mainland Americans as the site of bloody battles during the island-hoping Pacific Campaign of World War Two.

The donation is intended is to provide every student in middle school throughout Yap a personal dictionary of their very own. Twenty boxes were shipped directly to the Department of Education in Colonia, Yap where they will be distributed among students attending twelve public schools and two independent schools on Yap Proper. Another twenty boxes will travel aboard a state supply ship, headed for students at the eighteen public schools spread across Yap’s neighboring islands. Yap State is home to roughly 16,000 residents, with nearly 900 students in grades six through eight.

Yap, like all of the FSM, struggles with economic and educational development challenges. Data from the US government indicate that over half the adult Micronesian population has not earned a high school diploma. Among those lucky enough to enter the two-year community college system in Micronesia, just one-in-five will earn a degree.

“This is a team effort and there were a lot of moving parts,” explained Regina Raigetal, a Habele Director on Yap who led the dictionary donation project. “This would not be possible without the generosity of Mary French at the Dictionary Project, who provided the texts, and Director Vincent Parren, at the Yap State Department of Education, who is ensuring the books are properly distributed.” Raigetal noted the donation was designed to meet a specific, locally voiced need and hoped the books would reach students within the first few weeks of the new school year.

Parren echoed Raigetal’s enthusiasm about the partnership. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Habele and its partners for their courtesy and kindness in sending the dictionaries to the students all across Yap State,” said Director Parren. “We really appreciate the help and gift, and are pleased to have helped usher the boxes through customs as we send them out to the far-flung schools.”

The project was initiated and organized by Habele, a South Carolina based charity that has been working in Yap State since 2006 to support K-12 aged students. In addition to donations of text, reference and reading books, the group awards scholarships and provides support to community-based afterschool programs. The dictionaries were provided by “The Dictionary Project,” another, South Carolina based organization that works to provide students across the globe with dictionaries of their own.

Learn more, and find out how you can help at www.habele.org.