13 Nov Duffy Books In Homes
Duffy Books in Homes celebrates 13 millionth book giveaway The road from Camberley School in Hastings to Parliament’s Grand Hall in Wellington is paved with 13 million free books. Not literally, but the literary story is real. Duffy Books in Homes is celebrating not only its 25th anniversary this month, but also the fact that it has donated 13 million books to New Zealand children. The “13 millionth book” was given to a Wellington primary school student at a reception at the Grand Hall. Alan Duff, the New Zealand author who started it all, says he is humbled by the way sponsors like global supply chain business Mainfreight through to individuals and successive governments have supported the Duffy Books in Homes vision. “When I visited Camberley School back in the early ‘90s, I found most of the kids didn’t have books at home and didn’t seem to have any interest in reading either,” Duff says. “I thought they needed to learn about the joy of reading and discovery.” By 1994 a charitable foundation had been formed and registered with the Charities Commission. Since the official launch event in 1995 the programme has grown to encompass more than 500 schools and 200 early childhood centres, more than 100,000 students and more than 200 funding partners, supporters and donors. Nowadays for every $1 the Government contributes the charity raises another $2 plus to fund its programmes. Kevin Drinkwater, chairman of the Duffy Books in Homes Trust and Treasurer of Books in Homes USA, says the gift of Duffy Books is a life changing opportunity. “For many of our Duffy kids, it is the first time they have ever owned anything from new,” he says. “These books can open up the world to these children, provide them with inspiration and improve their aspirations for their life. Twenty-five years and 13 million books is only the start.” Linda Vagana, the CEO of Duffy Books in Homes, says it took four years to reach the first millionth book, but the programme has accelerated to inspire independent offshoots in Australia and the United States. “Here in New Zealand we are a small team ever grateful for the help we get from our ambassadors, co-ordinators and all the school teams that make sure their children get access to the programme,” Vagana says. “None of this could happen though with out our sponsors and especially the assistance of Scholastic NZ, which provides the books.