News & Updates

Wombat Books

Wednesday I collected about 1400 new shiny books from Wombat Books as a donation towards our projects for Africa and PNG. 


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Sally (Marketing) and Rochelle from Wombat helped by a tired tyke…

I had not seen Rochelle Manners, owner and editor of Wombat Books, for a few years, (since she was last at CYA Conference as an onsite editor 3 years ago). We have talked on email, etc and conversations are always fast, bubbly with both of us rushing to catch up the news of whats happening, who's a new success story and whats happened to people we both know in the industry etc…and it struck me how lucky we are with technology that we can keep abreast of everything, and in contact. I speak English - so does Rochelle. We don't have a language barrier to get past. 

But our PNG project do

PNG's school curriculum have recently changed, and they are now required to teach in English. So where before your local schools spoke and taught in their own dialects, now they are being encouraged to be bilingual. So there is a huge need of books to learn English with…and many are really keen to learn - but they need books to allow them to do this.

So, given that today is ANZAC day, and many of these books donated have been added to the container going close to the Kokoda trail (and to all Australians this trail has played a huge role in their history)  Wombat books came up another fantastic opportunity to help people donate books to this cause….


Wombat Books is donating books to Papua New Guinea to help local school students learn and practice English. If you would like to support us in this endeavour, simply buy a book from the Wombat Books website before Friday, 3 May and we will donate the same book (or one of equal value) to the schools. 

If you aren't interested in children's books, you can still help. Simply buy a book from our website and let us know that you would like that one sent to Papua New Guinea as well! Visit to start shopping and helping students in Papua New Guinea now!

Yes, thats correct — if you buy a book from them before 3rd May 2013, they will donate another to our cause - above what they have already donated. 

This is a wonderful - thank you Wombat books! 

So along with Milne Bay Estates Mobile Library help in the shipping of the books across to PNG, its as if a vain has opened,  and we are not stopping the flow of books for this worthy cause. 

Milne Bay Estates Mobile Library container has almost docked and we will get pictures soon when the books arrive  in that area… 

With HOPPL's first container leaving next week, we are looking forward to seeing the books filter through into a new province/state.

Overall it's all getting really exciting. Almost at the time when authors can see their books in the hands of the children in other countries and know that they are being read internationally, and everyone who donated along the way in the last 2 years ( and their have been many many people who have sent books) can see the books they donated in the hands of those that need them.

Quick reminder: 4 days until the CYA Competitions close for this year - get your entries in! 

CYA later!

Tina, Ally and Sam

Books to Kokoda - PNG

WW2 and jungles, the Kokoda trail marched by bare feet… this is what people think of when you mention this area, but real people live here, and there is a school near this trail … and these people are asking for books…

I have put a map here to show you where the different libraries are based. Milne Bay Mobile library(MBE) is near Alotau,  and HOPPL (Higaturu Oil Palm Plantations Ltd.) is in the Popondetta area, near Kokoda. 

Last week we dropped off over 50 boxes of books for the start of the HOPPL library. Done in conjunction with Mile Bay Estate Mobile Libraries, Kate will fly to the HOPPL Estate when the books arrive in their container, and help with the setting up of this library.

Dropping off HOPPL books: 

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But to enable us to drop these books - first we needed to pack them. Thank you to Julie Nickerson and her family, and Kate and Eilish for helping sort and stack and pack about 2000 or so books for the HOPPL library. 

This drop off was just over 1.1 tones of literature - thats a lots books! 

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We continue to have beautiful donations through form Moreton Bay Libraries as always, and also we had a huge donation from Chris Bell. 2000 of her books - THANK YOU Chris! 

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We also received a donation of a huge box of new blankets (and a few other things)  for The Mother Africa project which we will be storing in the garage until that container goes. So thank you to Pillow Talk and thank you to Carmen Merrett for organising that. 

Until next time… remember 8 days left until the competitions close - get those entries in ASAP.

CYA later!

Tina, Ally & Sam

literacy & Numeracy

Literacy & numeracy in people of all ages is a cause really close to my heart. If I didn't love books, CYA Conference would cease to be…

CYA Conference has been in raising funds, collecting books and other school items for The Mother Africa Trust in Bulawayo Zimbabwe. We have met many lovely people on this jounrey who have helped, donated, both time and money and resources. One of those are the Rotary Club.

As a teenager, my rellies Val & Kevin Caldwell were very involved in the Kokstad Rotary club. I met many exchange students, and my friends went overseas to be exchange students (some better at it than others!) And becuase of family involvement, I often found myself on weekend, helping the rotary ladies in the kitchen, waiting tables at functions or simply attending functions of a rotary nature. I was made aware of the wonderful jobs these selfless people do.

Fast forward many years, to a different time, a different continent and country. I now live on Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia. I met with the Rotarians here ( Its a bit hard not to Barry Clark lives a few doors down and no, we are not related..LOL)

Not only did they put me intouch with another couple trying for a similar goal as me (only they just collect money only for 3 different charities within Zimbabwe) but they opened a dialogue with me about the posibility of moving a continer: Rotary to Rotary. 

Non profit Club to Non profit club.

This is what they do, what they are good at, and I was happy to dove tail in with them. They are helping CYA Conference to achieve the dream faster than we thought possible, but we need to be patient….The container is still waiting to leave as we need a duty free pass on the Zimbabwe side. Rotary Bulawayo are working hard on acquiring that, but until we get it - we can't ship the container without having a heap of expensive charges on landing at the railway siding in Zimbabwe. And, we can't afford to do that to The Mother Africa Project who use every dollar they have already for their fantastic work they are already acomplishing. The idea was to enhance and add to their organisation, not drain its resources. 

But boxes upon boxes of books keep coming, donations don't stop… I no longer have room in my garage…and I hate turning away any donations, as once they stop - its hard to get the momentum going again. 

Enter an Australian school friend Kate Skeet. 

(This is Kate, visiting at the freight company - FastAir - who move all the books through in the containers to Milne Bay.)

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Kate & Callum's children and mine attended the Montessori school together a few years ago. They are now living as ex-pats in Milne Bay in PNG and have started this wonderful project:

Milne Bay Estates Mobile Library 

Picture Taken from their site: Wagawaga Elementary School - February 2013

Mr Callum Skeet, General Manager of Milne Bay Estates is welcomed by Elementary and Primary children at Wagawaga.  The beautiful beachside village of Wagawaga is a 1 1/2 hour drive or 40min boat ride from Alotau.  Milne Bay Estates Mobile Library has been a regular provider of books to the Primary School, however this was the first donation to the recently completed Digicel Foundation Funded Elementary School. 

Like the majority of schools we donate books to, there was not a single book in the classroom!


There are many other pictures of this wonder service that Kate is managing to provide in PNG. But the best news is, that there is a ready established trade route through for the books, (thank you Milne Bay Estates!) and CYA Conference are not looking to fund any of the transport. We are just taking all the lovely donations to us, and directing them through to PNG as well now.

Sharing the overflow from the African with Papua New Guinea. 

This is a picture of the first 30 or so boxes and puzzles donated, going into storage at FastAir (thank you Moreton Bay Libraries for not giving up on us and continuing to supply us with these wonderful books/magazines/puzzles and other resources for these projects!). This continer will leave on Friday 12th April…not all these boxes will make it this time, they might, it just depends on what else is in the container to be delivered. But they will get there - and thats what is important. Also, that FastAir has space for the books, between containers is a HUGE help! 

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But it gets even more interesting… 

On 14th April we are packing a complete library in my garage of 1000 - 1500 books for a pilot library into one of the other Palm Oil Estates. Again  facilitated by Kate, this container will also leave from FastAir, but this will go as a complete mobile library - catalogued and ready to be delivered, and be used. Kate will, as always, be on the ground when this one arrives in the next door province along, and will send us photies of that project as it happens… this library is so wanted. Kate was approached about it on the success of her projects running in the Milne Bay area,  and her next door province are seriously looking forward to seeing it in their community.

Having Kate pack this library with us in Australia is wonderful as she knows what is needed for a mobile library. Before this weekend, we didn't need to sort anything,  CYA Conference simply dropped 60 or so boxes of books for delivery to PNG. But this time, its a little different, we have the resources to help her do this before it gets to PNG - and we can make a difference in many peoples lives, children and adults alike. We are actually going to pack a library…

Right - remember entries into the competition for month end!

Book your conference spot ASAP to nab your first choices.

Till next time.

CYA later!

Tina, Ally & Sam.

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