The Palmyra Foundation distributes books primarily to children mainly of African Jamaican heritage born into the lower social and economic strata of Jamaican society. Poverty is particularly rife among families living in rural areas, where few parents have the funds to purchase any books or materials for their children resulting in poor literacy rates. Up to 100% of the Kindergarten children in rural areas of the island lack books. To ensure that books get to the children who need them the most, volunteers and sponsors drive cross country to personally hand deliver books to each child.
While the children are the direct beneficiaries of the book bags, indirect beneficiaries include teachers, principals, parents and siblings. Importantly, each community as a whole benefit from its children learning to read and write.
Long term, access to educational materials helps build confidence, break the cycle of poverty and decrease the risk of children getting involved in violence. The Palmyra Foundation distributes books to many small, isolated schools in the poorest rural areas of Jamaica that typically get no help from the outside. At some schools, a marked change in attitude has been experienced among the children who receive books from the charity.
“The attitude and the behavior of the children have really changed. They realize that apart from the teachers who will give them instruction, there are others who really do care about their well being.” Clayton Smith, Principal, Upper Rockfield All Age School, Hanover, Jamaica
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