Now here comes another foundation in support of the promotion of literacy.
Galing Foundation, US based and run by Filipinos and Fil-Ams in Georgia, is a provider of cultural and artistic experiences that is everything Filipino. Its mission is to fight illiteracy by providing access to books in rural areas in the Philippines, thus, it has donated 51 balikbayan boxes to provinces in the islands of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Its founder, Maritoni Daya-Luetgers, has succesfully touched based with other companies, NGOs, institutions and organizations to realize its objectives.
Like the Library Hub project of Mike Luz and the Read Or Die book donation campaign, I am for this initiative of providing books to indigent children. Reading is a right. Literacy begins with the availability of reading materials and resources besides. However, I will say this again, that book provision is only the beginning of literacy development.
Teachers are needed to facilitate reading instruction. Teachers need a variety of books to be able to develop literacy among young learners. Librarians come into the scene by making sure that donated books are well taken cared for. Books are alive and they must be protected from the heat and the cold; mended when broken; repaired for longevity; stored for posterity. Librarians can enrich the reading experience by setting an environment that is conducive for pleasurable and recreatory reading. School librraies and public libraries create programs and services that make reading a meaningful experience.
Back in 2003, Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, collaborated with our school library to train school librarians who were in charge of the book donations made by SAS and HSBC. They had basic training and orientation on library routines and services provided for young children. SAS found out that no matter how many the donated books were or how beautiful and spacious the donated library building was, if there are no personnel in charge, efforts and resources will all go to waste. As of present, SAS continues to train public school teachers and librarians towards better literacy instruction via the annual Gurong Kaakbay conference.
I hope that the donations of Galing Foundation are in good hands. I hope that there are teachers who can use the books to teach children how to read them. I hope that recepients of these precious donations land in the hands of a librarian who has the passion for literacy and the political will to battle the odds at setting up reading and resource centers in the provinces. If my hopes fall short of hopefulness, I pray that there are people on the recieveing end who will know what to do with the books given to the children.