MONTEGO BAY, St James — HUNDREDS of students across western Jamaica are now benefiting from a donation of over 1,000 children's books by passengers of the cruise ship, Festival at Sea, which docked in Montego Bay, St James, last week.
The books were presented to representatives of the Ministry of Education and Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) during a brief handing-over ceremony at the Montego Bay cruise Ship Terminal.
The donation was facilitated by the California-based agency, Blue World Travel, through its Children's Book Drive, in collaboration with the operators of Festival at Sea.
The project, launched 21 years ago, enables passengers and other stakeholders associated with the agency and vessel to donate educational literature to children in destinations where the ship calls.
"It is an idea to give back because we come to your beautiful island and you host us, but it's a good idea also when someone is hosting you to give something and what better way to give back than books for the children," Patricia Yarbrough, the president of Blue World Travel, explained.
"These books have come from the passengers and will go a far way in enriching all of us, not just the children."
Peggy Presley, Administrator, Los Angeles School District in the US, told the gathering that "we all have a human responsibility to share, to share our love of knowledge, to share our joy of reading, to share the empowerment of literacy because books open doors for us."
She urged the students in attendance at the ceremony to "look at the donations as books, but also as keys that will open many doors."
The donation includes a biography of Michelle Obama, wife of the US President Barack Obama, and covers several subject areas, including maths and science.
And in expressing appreciation for the donation, JTB Regional Director, Rose Marie Johnson noted that the contribution of the books will substantially boost Jamaica's literacy programme, as many students will benefit from reading the books over the coming years.