3 Mar


Floating library brings books to marginalised children this World Book Day

3 Mar, 2020

British maritime charity launches book boat in the Philippines

This World Book Day, a UK charity is launching a library with a difference to tackle plummeting child literacy on tiny, isolated islets in the Philippines.

International maritime charity Sailors’ Society, based in Southampton, has built a special floating library to bring books to children on Bantayan Island, as well as tiny neighbouring islets, which do not have schools or a library.

The boat will dock at beaches and crew will unload a reading hub of books, mats and tables, where up to 30 children at a time can come together to read, listen to stories and enjoy other activities.

Sandra Welch, COO of Sailors’ Society, said: “There are thousands of children living across these islands. Many of them come from incredibly poor seafaring communities, where there has been a dramatic decline in reading because parents are too busy working to read with their kids and books are considered a luxury.

“Our dream is that, by coming together to read and learn, these children will be inspired and empowered to access a better future.”

Pupils on Bantayan Island, the Philippines, use Sailors’ Society’s boat library.

One of the children who will have access to the book boat, Rogelyn Chavez, 15, said: “We don’t have a library, so I used to borrow books from my teachers which I also shared with my classmates, or we had to take a small boat to go to the school library on the mainland.

“Now that we have this boat library, I can access and borrow books for myself without sharing. I’m very thankful because we have many choices of books to select from.”

The floating library has been developed in partnership with the local community and local government and sponsored by Anscor Swire.

Starting this Easter, it will visit islands on the weekends and holidays, and will offer a library corner on Suba island for children waiting for their school boat.

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