Skip To Content
- Blog -
Topic Search

Westerdam Aids Students’ Literacy Project in Papua New Guinea

A middle school project to deliver books to a library halfway around the world is almost complete, thanks to some good timing and an alert travel advisor. Students from Odyssey Middle School in Bainbridge, Washington, brought over 400 books to Holland America Line’s ship Westerdam on Sunday for delivery to a new literacy library in Papua New Guinea.

Students at the school undertook the project in 2019 after learning about the nation north of Australia in which over one third of residents are illiterate. But getting the books there remained a big challenge. Heather Visser, who works for Cruise Specialists and whose children attend the school, discovered a Holland America Line itinerary that made it possible. Westerdam was set to sail a 36-day voyage from Seattle to Sydney, with port visits to Papua New Guinea.

“This has been an amazing opportunity for us, and also for Holland America to partner with us,” said Dr. Mere Sovick, Executive Director of Melanesian Women Today, a nonprofit that champions education in the region. “We didn’t know how to get (the books) there… so this has saved us so much money but wow, at the same time the kids can come and experience this in a way that is tangible for them.”

The books ready to be loaded on to Westerdam for delivery to Papua New Guinea.

The books ready to be loaded on to Westerdam for delivery to Papua New Guinea.

Nine students joined Westerdam’s captain and crew Sunday to drop off the books, to talk about their mission, to learn about the ship and to hear more about how their donation will ultimately arrive in about a month.

Westerdam just completed a season cruising roundtrip from Seattle to Alaska and is making its South Pacific Crossing to Sydney where it will offer a season of Australia and New Zealand itineraries. In early 2023, Westerdam cruises to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, China and the Philippines before returning back to Seattle for another Alaska season in in May.

More information on the literacy project can be found at the Melanesia Women Today website.

6 Comments
  • Carolyn Buractaon

    What a wonderful partnership! Thank you Holland America for delivering these books and helping children on two continents share a love of reading and spirit of generosity.

  • Moynul Hoque

    Really nice

  • Ricardo

    Happy to be on board Westerdam with all this books on this cruise to Australia, crossing the Ecuator southwards tomorrow.

  • Sahara Desert Kingdom

    Interested! Join us in Morocco for a memorable journeys.

  • John Hocknull

    The books were successfully off loaded in Alotau on the 30th October.
    I arranged for them to be airlifted from Alotau to Port Moresby and then on to Lae.
    This was achieved through the good graces of Air Niugini and their General Manager Mr Marco McConnell.
    The books are to be collected very shortly by the schools Director Pauline Woti.

  • John Hocknull

    The books were successfully off loaded in Alotau on the 30th October.
    I arranged for them to be airlifted from Alotau to Port Moresby and then on to Lae.
    This was achieved through the good graces of Air Niugini and their General Manager Mr Marco McConnell.
    The books are to be collected very shortly by the schools Director Pauline Woti.

    I would like to post some pictures of the journey of the boxes but don’t know what to post pictures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*