I was so deeply touched by the skill and dedication of the teachers at my old school in Jamaica when I visited last year that I pledged to help them in any way I can.
The lack of even the most basic teaching resources in rural schools like my alma mater in Cacoon is really quite shocking, so as soon as I got back to the UK I started to go through the shelves at my house in Birmingham looking for books that would be suitable to send to them.
My cousin Wally Crooks, the famous Birmingham Jaguar dealer, happened to be sending a container with one of his beloved Jags to Jamaica, so I took the opportunity to load a crate of books on board.
I had found story books, general knowledge information books, poetry, languages, dictionaries, and religious stories suitable for different reading levels including early years readers, with a few for the teachers. In all, I sent 100 books.
When I visited Jamaica earlier this year, I picked up the box from Wally and Derek and I took them over to Cacoon and presented them to the Principal, Mrs Carole Grant (see the photo above). She was so pleased to receive the books, and particularly delighted with one called The By Myself Book which shows children and teachers how to create and develop projects from everyday objects such as cardboard boxes. She told me: ‘Some parents are finding it difficult to purchase books for their children, and we have no library at the school, so these books are so welcome.’
While we were at the school Derek took some photos of me and Mrs Grant and I later sent them to the reporter who covers this part of the island for the Jamaica Daily Observer, with some details about the donation. A few weeks later, a story appeared and here is the link to the online version.
I am determined to give the children of Cacoon School more books, and I would like your support in this. I am looking for books suitable for children aged 3 to 15, books which your own children may have read and no longer need, for instance – reading books, story books, dictionaries, activity books, poetry, etc.
It would be so nice if we could give each child a book to take home. If you have any suitable books, please email and let me know, and I will arrange to come and pick them up.