Feb 17, 2020 – The Christian Union Primary School has been recognised for its work in child literacy with an award from Hands Across the Sea.
Hands Across the Sea is a non-profit organisation with a mission to improve reading in the OECS through school programmes, libraries and after-school youth centres.
Each year a school is awarded for its reading or library programme and this year, the Christian Union Academy has gotten the award which comes with US $1,000 of books and literary resources of its choice.
Harriet Linskey, co-founder of Hands Across the Sea detailed the criteria for the winning programme.
“A functioning library with a check-in and check-out system for books so we can record how many books are in circulation at any one time; we like to have schools have a student librarian programme, and we would like to make sure that the schools have a library committee made up of the principal, literacy coordinator, a few teachers and maybe a parent so that the library is managed.”
She added, “Teachers and classes are coming to the library once a week and we’re able to see the borrowing records from time to time…will help make the library functional and sustainable.”
Brenda George is principal of the 13-year-old Christian Union Academy. She says the organisation has been a useful partner in improving students reading and developing their love for books.
“When Hurricane Maria came, every single book was destroyed. We did not have one book left because the entire building was uncovered and because of that our students were not able to really do what they wanted to although they had already begun developing that interest in reading.”
She said the school sought support to stock the library and learned of Hands across the Sea.
“They have donated three [shipments] of books so we have gotten about 20 boxes of books. That’s why I say we have come a long way; from not having any to having a fully equipped library.”
She is especially proud of her students who act as librarians at the school. She described their commitment, service and passion for their library.
Principal George says twice daily and during their designated class library time, the young readers can be found sprawled out in various areas of the library and the school yard reading books.
Hands Across the Sea has been working in Dominica since 2008. They have supported 88 projects, supplying more than 100,000 books and impacting at least 12,000 children.