Spread­ing the word on read­ing

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By MON­ICA TISCHLER

Romy de Boer knows the im­por­tance of read­ing so he’s mak­ing sure other chil­dren ex­pe­ri­ence the joy and knowl­edge it brings.

The 14-year-old is help­ing with an ini­tia­tive to turn sur­plus li­brary books from New Zealand into val­ued learn­ing tools for or­phans and school chil­dren in his home coun­try, the Philip­pines.

‘‘It’s good to read – it’s an in­vest­ment for the fu­ture,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant to ex­pand your knowl­edge.’’

Send­ing books over­seas is an ini­tia­tive by char­i­ta­ble trust SCOT Foun­da­tion which helps dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren in both New Zealand and the Philip­pines through pro­grammes in­clud­ing lit­er­acy cour­ses, gift giv­ing and scholarships.

SCOT Foun­da­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Mike de Boer is Romy’s fa­ther. He and wife Sharon adopted Romy from Filipino or­phan­age Con­cor­dia Chil­dren’s Ser­vices nine years ago.

The foun­da­tion sends about 400 books to the Philip­pines twice a year.

Books are do­nated from The Lion Foun­da­tion and Hen­der­son Li­brary.

De Boer says it’s a plat­form to trans­form what’s sur­plus here to some­thing that’s in de­mand in the Philip­pines.

‘‘It’s a gift for the chil­dren so they know there are other people in the world who are think­ing of them.

‘‘Books en­cour­age them to have a good fu­ture and help them know that the or­phan­age isn’t the only op­por­tu­nity for them,’’ he says.

Romy was 5 years old when he came to live in New Zealand and re­mem­bers feel­ing ‘‘a bit sad’’ leav­ing be­hind his past but was ex­cited about em­bark­ing on a new ven­ture.

Romy and de Boer vis­ited the or­phan­age in Jan­uary to hand out sup­plies and will head back in De­cem­ber to deliver more books.

Al­though Romy fits in well here, de Boer says it’s im­por­tant his son continues to travel to the Philip­pines.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant for him to know where his roots are and where he orig­i­nates from.’’

Photo: MON­ICA TISCHLER

Gift­ing knowl­edge: Romy de Boer, 14, is ex­cited to be part of an ini­tia­tive that helps chil­dren in the Philip­pines ex­pe­ri­ence the joy of read­ing.

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