ABAIANG, Republic of Kiribati - Pacific Partnership 2013 partner nation military, U.S. service members and non-governmental organization volunteers delivered more than 200 textbooks to Stephen Whitmee High School in Abaiang, Republic of Kiribati, July 18.
The textbooks were donated by the non-profit organization Project Handclasp.
"The students need books to learn," said Abitaroma Taribo, principal of the school. "Right now we have to photocopy pages of books to give to the students. The books that were brought will help students better prepare for national exams."
Stephen Whitmee High School has around 150 students from Kiribati and staff often find it difficult to attain the resources needed to teach them all the subjects required. The books donated will be a great help, said Taribo.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Benjamin Pong said that the School's remote location presented a number of logistical challenges but knowing that the cargo delivered will help Kiribati's next generation made it all worth it.
"A lot of people in this area haven't seen many foreigners before, especially not working together for something good," said Pong. " It's important for them to see that we all support them and we're all part of the global community."
Taribo said he was thankful for the donation and expressed optimism towards the next school year.
Conducted annually since 2006, Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster response-preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership is joined by partner nations that include Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand.