In 2015 we found ourselves living in the far remote reaches of Indonesia on a teeny tiny island in the middle of the sea.

Our home at Raja Ampat

Our island home was in West Waigeo, about as far west as West Papua gets, and the nearby villages were extremely isolated.  As a result, the education system struggled.  It was difficult to find teachers willing to live in the conditions offered by poor fishing villages, schools were rundown, and resources of all kinds were extremely limited.

Our first school at Salio Village, West Waigeo, Raja Ampat
The teachers that made the initial request for books which got this whole thing rolling

I thought I might have something to offer, but I didn't know what the villagers needed. 

So I reached out to the teachers.  How can I help you?

The teachers' responses were immediate - books.

It's very hard to teach literacy when the children have nothing to read.

Early morning in Salio Village

I wasn't working at the time, and I didn't know when I would be again, so buying a large amount of books for the school wasn't something that I could do.  But I have a lot of people in my life who are passionate about education and I knew if I reached out to my people it wouldn't be long before I could build a collection of books for this school.

I contacted friends and colleages in Bali and asked them to donate books to this cause.  The #100BOOKSproject was born.

Over the next several months I saw that I had many more people in my life - not just in Indonesia - who wanted to contribute to this project.  I started getting donations from the UK and Australia.  I created a gofundme page to handle monetary donations so that I could buy Indonesian books for people who wanted to donate but didn't live in the country.

Books and money kept coming in and soon we were able to start a library collection in a second village.

Selepele Village, West Waigeo, Raja Ampat
Selepele Village School
Enjoying Books

Towards the end of 2016 we left West Papua and moved to a different teeny tiny island in remote Indonesia.  This time at the gateway of the Komodo National Park.

View from the top of our island home
View from home in Flores

Early on in our time in Flores I visited a neighbouring village to see if their school, like the schools I had visited in Papua, needed books.  Of course they did, but they also needed so much more.

The village was having an extremely difficult time keeping teachers.  At the time of my first visit I was informed that 10 teachers had come and gone in the past 12 months - a combination of poor salary and poor living conditions.  As a result, the government was threatening to close the school down - something the villagers did not want to happen.

Kukusan Village, NTT

I decided that the most pressing need was to improve the living conditions for teachers so that they would stay and eliminate the threat of the school being closed down.  So we built a new house for the teacher.

The original house
The new house

We have now distributed over 4000 books to eight different village school libraries, and offer care packages to teachers living in remote situations where food and hygeine items are difficult to come by or too expensive to buy on poor salaries.

When I got that first request for books I never expected to be here.  I am so grateful to be able to contribute to the lives of so many children and help support communities who lack the opportunities I have always been granted.

Thank you for being a part of this story.


(You can read our yearly, anniversary updates here)

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