Spreading the word on reading
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.’’
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.