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Low literacy levels in countries across the world are one of the main problems Deloitte has identified to address globally through WorldClass, our mission to help 50 million futures by 2030.
The 2015 census recorded the adult literacy rate in Papua New Guinea (PNG), Australia’s nearest neighbour, as 63.4%. In some regions, literacy levels are as low as 5%. PNG’s leaders and those at Deloitte PNG recognise that literacy levels among school-age children must be addressed now to ensure the nation’s future prosperity.
The literacy challenge is close to the hearts of the people of Deloitte PNG. Having witnessed the difficulties of low literacy levels in their own communities, they are passionate about the importance of education as the key to a successful life. Yet most PNG schools cannot afford libraries.
Since 2015, Deloitte PNG has been working with the charity Buk Bilong Pikinini providing books, kindles, computers, hands-on and pro bono support to give schoolchildren a fighting chance in a young nation that is also challenged by high levels of poverty and crime. Buk Bilong Pikinini has 18 library centres located in five provinces throughout the country.
Each year on Impact Day Deloitte people visit five libraries. This involves five volunteers visiting a library and working with 50-60 schoolchildren in each location. Activities include reading to children, playing games, drawing and colouring as well as book sorting through thousands of books, which are given to BbP’s libraries. These visits enrich the children’s life experience by giving them exposure to new faces which enhances their social skills.
Children actively participate in conversations with the volunteers, which helps them to reason out, ask questions and gets them thinking. Activities help the children’s gross and fine motor skills while professional staff’s visits help build aspirations.
Deloitte offers the charity a variety of ongoing support including:
Across the landscape of Papua New Guinea, Deloitte’s efforts are helping many schoolchildren every day to read and write their way to a better future.
Gerry has been leading Deloitte Australia’s Responsible Business team and The Deloitte Foundation since 2015 and is shaping the firm's strategy to be a leading corporate citizen and to make a 'profit with purpose'. Gerry navigated towards this role after 8 years of strategy and operations consulting at Deloitte. Through The Deloitte Foundation and the Responsible Business team, Gerry manages Deloitte Australia's pro bono, skilled volunteering, workplace giving and environmental programs.