One of the many ways that you can be involved in International Book Giving Day on 14th February is to support Duffy Books, one of our wonderful local charities who get books into the hands of the children who need them most. Duffy Books General Manager, Linda Vagana, has written a lovely post all about Duffy Books and the amazing work that they do.
It’s great to see an initiative that aligns so closely with what we’re trying to achieve here in New Zealand.
Duffy Books in Homes gives free books, three times a year, to over 100,000 New Zealand children in 529 lower-decile schools and 217 Early Childhood centres. These schools and centres are spread from the Far North to Bluff.
We currently give away an average of more than one book every minute of every day of the year. In the last year alone the programme has given away more than 600,000 books.
Since 1993 over 8,000,000 books have been given to hundreds of thousands of students from low income homes.
A combination of schools, sponsors and the Government has made it possible to give away so many books. Each pays approximately a third of the total cost of the programme, equating to around $13.50 per child, per year.
The programme was founded by Alan Duff, author of ‘Once Were Warriors’ and philanthropist Christine Fernyhough who saw that many homes in New Zealand were ‘bookless.’
Our vision is to break the cycle of booklessness in New Zealand homes by inspiring a love of books in Duffy children so they become adults who inspire a love of reading.
We give children a minimum of five brand new books of their choice each year at no charge. In addition, children can earn weekly ‘Caught Being Good’ book awards as well as other awards for effort and attitude. Prominent New Zealand Role Models present the books and spread the message ‘It’s Cool to Read and Cool to Achieve!’ Sponsors enjoy the opportunity to hand out books at these special assemblies.
Other features include two travelling theatre groups which perform to schools each year, awards for parents and grandparents and books for preschool siblings on their birthdays
Schools in the programme notice an improved attitude towards books and reading. Changes include less theft, vandalism and bullying within schools.
Past research has shown improvements in reading scores of up to 35% for schools joining the programme. Current research shows that kids in ‘Duffy’ schools show decreased signs of a drop in reading achievement over the summer holidays – an issue which schools have traditionally struggled with.
We’re most proud of becoming an integral part of so many schools’ literacy programmes and giving children something of their own to treasure. As the original ‘Duffy kids’ are now beginning to have children of their own one of our greatest rewards is to see how they are passing on their love of reading to their own children.
Duffy kids who have gone on to success in later life include World BMX champion and Olympic Silver medallist Sarah Walker and 2010 Miss World New Zealand Cody Yerkovich.
You can help us give even more books to New Zealand children by making a donation. As little as $5 will buy one book for a child while $50 will give a child all the services and benefits of the programme for a whole year.
You can even Donate Your Desktop space to us and help to sponsor a Duffy kid at no cost whatsoever.
For more information please visit the Donations Page of our website.
I can testify to the amazing work that Duffy Books in Homes does for the children of New Zealand. I’ve visited schools when they’ve had their Duffy assembly to give them one of their books for the year, and I’ve seen their hugely entertaining travelling theatre performance that visits schools all over the country. When you see how excited the children are to receive their books or you see them singing along about books and reading, it’s clear that Duffy Books in Homes are achieving their goals and helping to give children a love of books.
Support Duffy Books in Homes this International Book Giving Day on 14th February.