15 August 2019

A box of books can change the world

Posted in Chaplaincy / Events / School life

It all began with the promise of a box of books and a Chappy who wanted to make a difference.

Cleveland District State High School chaplain, Neale, is a man with a passion for helping children in need.

Through his Library Project Vanuatu initiative, which he launched in 2014 to help resource underprivileged schools in Vanuatu, he is now empowering students in his local school community to better understand the age-old adage that it is better to give than to receive.

“It is a real honour to open the eyes of students to see that you don’t have to be a millionaire to make a real difference. All it takes is some unneeded books and a bit of fundraising and you can change the lives of a whole village of kids,” Chappy Neale says.

To date, Chappy Neale and over 100 volunteers, have provided in excess of 100,000 books to resource 27 school libraries in villages across Vanuatu.

The people of Vanuatu are so eager for books, that some schools had actually built empty libraries, hoping they would one day be filled. When Chappy Neale and his school team show up with crates of books, the gift is beyond their expectations.

A completed library in Vanuatu

“One school told me: ‘We built the library and knew God would provide the books,’” Chappy Neale recalls.

“The truth is these books are going to benefit kids who haven’t been born yet. There is an incredible longevity to the gift. It costs about $4,000 to put in 3 libraries, which is really quite amazing.”

Many students and staff from Cleveland District State High have been fortunate to see first-hand the impact their support is having through the school’s biennial Vanuatu trips.

Students live in the village, eat the local food and are immersed in a whole new culture. The paradox is that while they are the ones bringing the gift of education, they themselves are learning too!

Chappy Neale has taught his school students a valuable life lesson: it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

This initiative has changed the lives of young people at Cleveland District State High School and across villages in Vanuatu. Thank you for making these stories possible through your support for school chaplaincy. To keep this cycle of giving going, visit suqld.org.au/donate.

For more information about this wonderful Project, the website is: www.libraryproject.com.au

Sarah Moore

Media and Communications Administrator

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