PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT

Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i


FORMER MICRONESIA PEACE CORPS GROUP FUNDS SCHOLARSHIPS
Founded by ex-volunteers, non-profit Habele is dedicated to education

SAIPAN, CNMI (Mariana Variety, Jan. 28, 2010) - "Habele," a U.S.-based charity serving Outer Island students in Micronesia, released its annual report this week, detailing the nonprofit’s accomplishments over the last year, its media release stated.

According to the report, the all-volunteer group provided 17 full tuition scholarships to low-income children attending private elementary and high schools in the Micronesian states of Yap, Chuuk, and Pohnpei.

Habele also provided over sixty boxes of textbooks and donated school supplies to public schools on isolated islands throughout Yap and Chuuk.

The group has received praised from Federated States of Micronesia and U.S. officials alike for its low overhead and targeted donations.

"The initiative of a group of former Peace Corps volunteers and teachers to launch Habele and its educational support programs reflects the best hands-on spirit that we can share with the Federated States of Micronesia," explained Miriam K. Hughes, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Micronesia from 2007 to 2009.

"Habele’s outreach to schools and students in Micronesia’s outer islands has practical impact, building American partnership and bettering the lives of others who would otherwise not have a chance," continued Hughes.

"Because Habele’s directors have engaged at the grassroots, they have acquired authentic perceptions of basic needs."

The report includes letters from parents, students, and independent school teachers, detailing how these 17 children would be unable to attend the prestigious schools without the Habele scholarships, and expressing thanks to donors who invested in the children’s educational futures.

In addition to providing details of private school tuition scholarships and public school donations, the document outlined Habele’s plan to release a Ulithian-English dictionary during 2010.

The text will be provided to students and teachers on Ulithi and Fais free-of-charge.

"We wanted to help Outer Island students by developing a commonsense Ulithian spelling system that preserves the local language and compliments phonics instruction for written and spoken English," said Johnny Hancock, a linguist who is spearheading the effort for Habele.

The dictionary incorporates important developments in speech sounds and a phonological system that make the text useful for both young island students and native English speakers learning Ulithian.

Habele is an IRS-recognized not-for-profit organization, incorporated in the state of South Carolina.

The group was founded by returned Peace Corps volunteers and other Americans with an interest in educational development in the Pacific.

The full 2009 Habele Outer Island Education Fund Annual Report can be downloaded online at http://www.habele.org/documents.asp.

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com
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