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Books and Homes initiative by De Beers Canada.

De Beers' Victor Project Books and Homes initiative is geared toward increasing literacy, and in the long term, capacity in human resources. The idea originated with the company's project in Snap Lake, Northwest Territories.

"That is a program they'd initiated with the Aboriginals in their area," says Tom Ormsby, public & corporate affairs manager for the De Beers Canada Inc.'s Victor project.

He says its success provided "great inspiration" to continue a similar program with the First Nations' communities along the James Bay coast.

Recognizing the varying levels of education throughout the communities, Books and Homes was one way to build, a literacy campaign at the grass roots to remove as many barriers as possible.

De Beers representatives created a forum of books of different age groups from which the children selected. Almost 6,000 books have been delivered to over 1,600 students in the various communities.

With 2007's program underway, Ormsby says there has been interest from groups as young as pre-school, day-care facilities.

"The goal is to remove as many barriers as possible," he adds. "Put the books in people's hands, especially the children."

In 2006, the cost for the Books and Home initiative (Victor project) was $130,000.

"If you have meaningful employment and engaged community members, it is a win-win for everybody."
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Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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