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Books In Homes Australia

The UCF Partner Project – it’s where you come in

47% of the Australian population are functionally illiterate, that means they:

  • can’t read the instructions on a medicine bottle
  • can’t read a map
  • can’t read a recipe

Very few of these people are as proactive as Tasmanian Don McKenzie[1] who, a couple of years of years ago at the age of 49, went back to school because he had been illiterate most of his life, having dropped out of school in Year 8.

Before attending adult classes, Mr McKenzie would rarely go out, hardly spoke to anyone, and became anxious over everyday tasks.

“What I was afraid of was going into the shop and… then I can’t understand what the labels are and I’d get the wrong thing. I’d think, well I’m not [going to] do that just in case I get the wrong thing and end up poisoning someone.”


The UCF Partner Project for Books In Homes

Books In Homes


We are raising $25,000 p.a. (for two years) to impact over 300 children’s lives.

Universal Charitable Fund (UCF) has committed to sponsoring two primary schools –

  • Elizabeth Vale Primary School (280 students) and
  • Oak Valley Aboriginal School (30 students)

The students will receive:   9 new books per student  •   9 book labels per student  •  3 book catalogues per student  •  3 new waterproof book bags per student  •  144 new books via Preview Pack donated to school  •  3 competitions  •  Caught Being Good books and certificates

In addition, we will be sponsoring 6 families from the remote Oak Valley community in the 0-3 Programme. They receive the same book choices and packs but the parents choose the books to read to their babies and toddlers.

In school terms 1, 2 and 4 children in our chosen schools and families will get a catalogue from which to choose 3 books for that term. Each child will be presented with their three chosen books, in a book-bag, at a Book-giving Assembly near the end of each term. These books are theirs to keep.


Why did we choose Books In Homes as a UCF Partner Project?

Books In Homes was selected as the new UCF Partner Project because UCF believes that together we can make a difference in the lives of these children by giving them a gift that will last their whole life:

  • The power of choice
  • The sense of community
  • The pride of ownership
  • Increased self-esteem and confidence
  • The desire to read and thus improve learning ability
  • The encouragement to read independently and more often
  • A way to foster meaningful time and interaction with a parent
  • A programme which has the potential to profoundly affect their futures

We realised that with the support of other successful business people like yourself, we could sponsor children and families to dream and rise above their current circumstances with the power of literacy.

Our first Book Giving Assembly!

On 2 December 2014 Elizabeth Vale Primary School had their first Book Giving Assembly and invited the UCF Board along, (we hope to invite our UCF Project Partners to the next one). Principal Julie Murphy had arranged a magician to celebrate with the kids and these were some of the comments from two of our Board members at the December meeting:

Nick (Handley) : “It was a real privilege to be there, which only came about due to being part of this fantastic organisation (UCF). It really did bring a bit of water to my eyes seeing the children and how happy they were. One comment to make – I’m really pleased they made a day of it. It wasn’t just an assembly that was over and done with in a few minutes. It was a real day and experience which I think will imprint a significant memory and having the parents there and all the hype around it, they’ll go home and truly value those books and the memory and be inspired. “

Peter (Gardiakos) : “From my perspective, we definitely made the right decision to support them. 120%. It was quite emotional for all of us. Seeing that (assembly) and meeting Julie and seeing that she created a magic show to have a significant emotional impact on the children, so that it links something really special like “magic show” with getting books. Really impressed. (Julie) also showed us the little veggie patch and special recycle area and engineering for special kids, really inspired teaching.

Julie also sent us a terrific thank you letter containing some of the children’s comments along with cards they had made.

Download – BIHA-End of Term Report-T414-UCF

Download – BIHA-End of Term Report-T115-UCF


The Internet DOES NOT replace books!

The truth is literacy is a learned skill and this skill is becoming more important in this information age. Understanding a simple headline is something many of us take for granted but for almost half the population even that is impossible. A staggering 44% of Australians don’t have enough reading and writing skills to function effectively day to day. It’s our hidden epidemic.

BIHA engagement
The changes a Books In Homes programme makes for children and parents.

“The importance of bound books should not be underestimated. Our research shows that having as few as twenty age-appropriate books of choice in the home has a significant impact on propelling children to a higher level of education” ~ Books In Homes Australia

  • Most of the homes we’re targeting will not have computers let alone iPads or Wi-Fi to run them
  • 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the court system are functionally illiterate
  • Low literacy costs $73 million per year in terms of direct health care costs, i.e. reading labels on medicine bottles and filling in forms. A recent study by Pfizer put the cost much higher.


Success in life AND BUSINESS depends on our ability to communicate and relate to other human beings.

Children who cannot read become adults who cannot communicate [2]

We contacted many of you in August 2014 with the opportunity to become a philanthropic partner in this project
If you meant to come to our information evening and couldn’t make it…
If you meant to contribute and it’s slipped your mind…

The truly GREAT news…

Is that you can still partner with UCF to give over 300 children the gift of reading and a more promising future by making a donation to our UCF Partner Project to support Elizabeth Vale and Oak Valley primary schools and 6 families in the Oak Valley community.

 You can give a child a chance…

  • to avoid learning disabilities,
  • unemployment,
  • a life of crime

…by learning to love reading.
The ability to read fluently and comprehend quickly affects school performance, self-esteem, economical prosperity and life chances with poor literacy skills being linked to lower education, earnings, health and social outcomes.


Help IMPACT! the future of these children –

to become a UCF Partner in this project please contact Vicki Keast


Thank you to those who have joined the

UCF Partner Project for Books In Homes

Hanh Kiey

Michael King

Rita Wall

CMA Chartered Accountants

Independent Conveyancers
Pride Business Solutions

S.A. Lease ManagementStar Pharmacy Group






Please note: If you join the “Books In Homes Australia UCF Partner Project” by donating, the funds are accounted for separately from the general funds of Universal Charitable Fund which are applied to grant applications received monthly. If you know of a deserving non-profit who could use a helping hand, full application details are on the website.



[1] Radio National Background Briefing
[2] Books In Homes Australia