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Durham students help kids in Caribbean read
OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation project at 19 Durham schools

OSHAWA — April 2014
By Kristen Calis

School children in St. Lucia and Grenada will soon have more opportunity to read thanks to 19 schools throughout Durham Region willing to help a foundation committed to improving literacy in the Caribbean.

At the book drive launch at Gordon B. Attersley Public School in Oshawa on March 25, the co-founder of OneWorld Schoolhouse Foundation, Sonya White, said that literacy can help children succeed in Caribbean countries.

I just think that it’s good for other people to have books because books help you learn, they help you read and I just like to help people.
Julia, grade 6 student, Durham DSB 

She told the students that in their lifetime, they’ll have on average three to four jobs that don’t even exist yet. The possibilities are endless,” she said. But she said children in the Caribbean don’t have the same opportunities; they can go beyond Grade 6 and into high school only if they pass an exam, and if their parents can afford it. The job possibilities in St. Lucia are generally working at a resort on the island, or fishing.

Literacy is the No. 1 way to tackle poverty,” said Ms. White. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, literacy is essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy.

However, with limited and outdated resources initially, coupled with severe weather conditions, such as hurricanes that have been known to wipe out libraries, books are not readily available in Caribbean countries such as St. Lucia.

That’s why OneWorld collects high-quality textbooks and other books from elementary and secondary schools in Ontario and redistributes them to schools in the Caribbean.

Ms. White said there are more than one million school children in the Caribbean, and 500,000 underutilized and accessible books in Canada.

The message hit home with the students, including Grade 6 students Julia Goddard and Alex Boland, who have volunteered to help collect and pack books.

I know that without books, where would we be in the world?
Alex, grade 6 student, Durham DSB 

Ms. White said book drives allow schools to cull resources in both environmentally responsible and socially responsible ways by diverting books from landfill and getting students involved. This is a simple way for kids to be philanthropic and to make a difference to classmates in a different region,” she said.

Ms. White said OneWorld plans to first donate books to all school districts in St. Lucia and Grenada before moving on to Montserrat. Then, OneWorld hopes to continue expanding throughout the Caribbean.

Article originally appeared on March 27, 2014 on durham​re​gion​.com© 2016 Metroland Media Group Ltd.

It is by acts and not ideals that people live.

Author (1844-1924)

Reading brings us unknown friends.

Novelist (1799-1850)

If you get the right [words] in the right order, you might nudge the world a little.

Sir Tom Stoppard
It's a long story
Books packed by kids in Ontario for their peers in the Caribbean travel 1,800 kilometres by road then another 5,275 kilometres by container ship.

Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.

Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)

A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever.

Author (1810-1889)
And the Winner in Montserrat is....
Marlaina White (Left) announces the Second Annual Rainforest of Reading Award to Illustrator Jan Dolby (Middle) and Author Joyce Grant for "Gabby."

At the moment that we persuade a child, any child to cross...that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever.


All I know is what I have words for.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Start some kind words on its travels. There is no telling where the good it may do will stop.

Sir Wilfred Grenfell
Humanitarian, Medical Missionary (1865-1940)
Challenging literacy development
Although English is the official language of St. Lucia, Krewyol is spoken as much or more outside the classroom.

I read. I travel. I become.

St. Lucian author & 1992 Nobel Laureate

Life is too deep for words so don't try to describe it, just live it.

C. S. Lewis
Author, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

If you believe what you can, quite literally, believe anything.

Professor, Philosopher (1912-1991)
Out of this world
After reading "Postcards from Outer Space' a student in Montserrat is inspired to be the next Chris Hadfield.

Too many people grow up. That's the trouble with the world.


The future is always beginning now. Each moment is a place you've never been.

Poet (1934-2014)

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

Philosopher, Psychologist (1842-1910)
Find 52: The Road to Reading in Grenada
In February 2015, Richard ran right around Grenada, a distance of 52 miles. 52 "Mile Captains" raised $40,000.

If we want to make this world a better place, then we have to become better ourselves. There is no easy route.