Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ready To Print!

It's time for an update on the Books for Bhutan project!

I'm so glad to say that with persistence and an enormous amount of help, support and the grace of things 'just falling in to place' the books are nearly ready for printing. Together we've raised enough to have 400 copies of each of the eleven books printed to be distributed to primary schools and libraries across Bhutan. The timing is perfect as Bhutan celebrates 2015 Year of Reading to honour His Majesty the 4th King's 60th Birth Anniversary.

This would never have happened if it weren't for the support of a large number of people, to whom I am so grateful.

Support has come in many forms. Huge thanks go to the many people who put their hand in their pocket and gave generously towards the cost of printing - in total approx. $5700 has been raised. There are many very worthy charities that we can support with our hard earned money, and it means a lot to me that you saw value in what I was hoping to achieve and joined with me to make it happen.

I want to acknowledge the support of the Australian Himalaya Foundation who has stepped in to provide the balance of funds needed after $3700 was raised through private donations.The Australian Himalaya Foundation works to help the people of the Himalaya through improvements in education, health and conservation. I'm hoping that I can work with them in the future to see this or other projects continue to improve children's access to quality education in Bhutan.

In the beginning I reached out to Bhutan Canada Foundation alumni to provide photos to help illustrate the books. It was wonderful how all the images came together and I hope you all get to see copies of the books, especially those that showcase your own Bhutanese students and communities. Thank you Vicky and Ian, Sharon, Angela, Justine and Paul.

I'd like to acknowledge the hard work of Andrea Goldring from Studio 77 Design who took the vague ideas I had and transformed them into colourful, engaging and professional books that will delight little Bhutanese readers.

Without the help of Pat Darlington in Bhutan I would still be sitting here with my lovely little books but no closer to understanding the intricate process of having them printed in Bhutan. Pat (who I met only briefly at a look out point in Bhutan) worked closely with colleagues and friends in Bhutan to visit various printers and approach government departments to ensure all approvals have been sought and all practical details have been thought through. Pat, your knowledge and ideas and support have been essential to the success of this project, thank you!

After careful consideration we selected Bhutan Printing Solutions in Thimphu to print the books and we are grateful that they saw the value in our project and offered us a quote that reflected the charitable nature of what we are hoping to achieve. I have confidence that they will provide a professional service to print the books.

And then, back to where this all began for me... the Bhutan Canada Foundation has offered to manage the distribution of books to schools in rural areas of Bhutan. I would love to be able to personally visit schools and deliver books to students and  teachers -  I would love to spend some time to show how books like these can be an important stepping stone to acquiring English and skills in reading. The next best thing is leaving this important task in the capable hands of the staff and volunteers of BCF. In July a team of qualified reading teachers from Canada will arrive for intensive reading work in selected Bhutanese schools and I feel confident these teachers can share their expertise in using levelled readers with local teachers.

When I set out to write these little books I hoped I could collaborate with others to make this a team effort- to create something bigger and better than I could achieve alone. At the time I didn't know who those collaborators would be and it has been a great learning experience for me to let go of the small details and open myself up to the 'positive flow' of the universe. 

If I have chatted with you about this project and you've listened with enthusiasm and interest then I'm so glad of the 'pat on the back' you've given me and the inspiration to keep going even when I didn't know what to do next.

These little books will not change the world, but perhaps they will make the process of learning for some Bhutanese PP (Prep) students a little easier and a little more fun. I'm eager for feedback from all who encounter them and hopeful that with the support of the Australian Himalaya Foundation that this may just be the start of bigger things.

I'll let you know when they roll off the press!