Left to right: John Yoshimori, Habele Volunteer; Denise Sumida the Pearl Harbor Elementary School Librarian; and Mr. Glenn Agusen, SSC office assistant.
Hundreds of small islands are scattered across the vast Western Pacific Ocean. They are home to some of the most remote students on the planet.
Diverse in culture and language, these far-flung picturesque islands are strategically situated. The Federated States of Micronesia are the geopolitical crossroads of the Pacific. The islands’ dramatic role in centuries of global politics obscures persistent challenges of isolation, dispersion, and limited resources.
Schools across Micronesia need books for their school-based libraries, which serve both students and members of the community at large. The need is especially great in the remote outer islands which are strung between the larger population centers and state capitals. Staff and students at Pearl Harbor Elementary School resolved to help.
Eauripik is one such atoll, in the Micronesian State of Yap. Eauripik is home to 114 people living on less than a tenth of a square mile of land. The atoll is visited by cargo ships only a few times a year. It lies 390 milies southeast of Yap Proper and 480 miles south of the US Territory of Guam. Despite its small size and isolation, the Island has a reputation within Micronesia for having hardworking, academically minded people. Tiny Eauripik was home to the nation’s second president, the first native born Micronesian Catholic priest, and one of the nation’s most renowned ship captains.
The Pearl Harbor Elementary School, on Moanalua Ridge near Pearl Harbor, has donated books to help the readers of Eauripik. In November they began working with John Yoshimori, a volunteer with the nonprofit “Habele.”
Forty-six boxes of high quality, age appropriate, used books were packed for donation. Habele, a nonprofit established by former Peace Corps who taught in Micronesian public schools, coordinated the donation with educators on Eauripik and Pam Legdesog, Director of the Yap State Department of Education.
For this and other donations, Habele pairs individuals and groups who have books with educators in the FSM who are seeking them. Donors simple pack their box, weigh and measure the box, and send Habele the weight and dimensions. Habele then sends the donor an envelope with pre-paid postage, mailing labels, and completed customs paperwork. Finally, donors apply the stickers and take the box their local post office.
“In curating our school library and classroom collections, we had books we no longer needed but which would be of great value and interest to students and educators who might not have the resources we enjoy” explained Denise Sumida the Pearl Harbor Elementary School Librarian. “We were thrilled to be able to share these with a school in Micronesia where the books will be read and enjoyed”