We're pleased to share the fantastic news with friends of Hibiscus Three that, our Founder, Rashmii Bell, along with collaborative book project partner Adventure Kokoda, are nearing their target after receiving 263 donations of newly-purchased copies of Roses At Eora Creek.
Initiated in mid-October, Ms Bell and Adventure Kokoda have sought out the support of the public to raise a total of 500 books to be donated to children along the Kokoda Trail and surrounding communities. The initial response has been terrific through the generosity of individual donors, with some purchasing multiple copies for distribution along the Central and Oro provinces of PNG.
Each book has been purchased at A$25.00, with the donor's name to be recorded inside the cover of the book. Specialist Kokoda trek company and long time friend of PNG, Adventure Kokoda, will facilitate the delivery of the books along the Trail.
Authored by Hibiscus Three Founder, Rashmii Bell, Roses At Eora Creek was released in June 2020, and has since received positive reader reviews throughout PNG, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the United States.
" In 2018, had the wonderful opportunity of being sponsored by Adventure Kokoda so that I could experience the 10-day trek through the eyes of a Papua New Guinean woman. I returned from Kokoda and shortly after, documented my experience and reflections in a seven-part article series of roughly 14 000 words".
Ms Bell describes that article series as being targeted at an adult-reader audience, as she set out her concerns including the urgent need for improved sustainable trek tourism practices, and significantly, the just and ethical treatment of Papua New Guinean Carriers (Porters) and Guides of the wartime trek tourism industry. In discussion with Adventure Kokoda, there was swift agreement as to the importance of including and engaging young people in evolving conversations sparked by the article series.
"Essentially what I've done is lifted the 14 000 words from my article series and shaped it into a 1 700-word poem that I hope will engage and encourage young readers of upper primary school and high school, to consider how they may be a part of the solution to the issues impacting the Kokoda Trail and surrounding communities".
Ms Bell has had an ongoing association with young people and their knowledge and understanding about Kokoda wartime history, and the present day wartime trek tourism industry.
" My contact with Kokoda began in 2017 when I designed, facilitated and delivered a 3-day writing workshop to primary and high school students ( Papua New Guinean and Australian) as part of the 75th Anniversary commemoration of the Kokoda Campaign 1942". Through her ongoing contact as a writer, author and recently-established independent publisher, Ms Bell continues to encourage Papua New Guineans to learn more about the Kokoda Campaign, its legacy in present-day PNG- Australia people-to people relations, and a key reason why many Australians have and will continue to undertake the pilgrimage of the Kokoda Trail.
"Certainly there is a marked lag in Papua New Guinean voices contributing to writing about Kokoda. So, the opportunity provided by Adventure Kokoda for me to trek with them, then go on to collaborate and author Roses At Eora Creek, is exceptional in bridging that gap in limited representation of PNG-authored books about the Kokoda Trail. It is very important that young Papua New Guineans not only see social advocacy in action, but that they are also encouraged to participate and provided with access to do so".
The Roses At Eora Creek Book Campaign for Kokoda Children continues , with more information available via Adventure Kokoda's website (link below). It would be wonderful to hear more news in the near future that the target of 500 book donations has been reached (and exceed).