As a mother of two energetic boys under the age of four, Pavithra is determined to give her boys the best start in life possible.

Pavithra, her husband and their sons live in Acacia Ridge, one of greater Brisbane’s most disadvantaged suburbs. In addition to experiencing high levels of unemployment and poverty, up to 40% of children in the community start school lacking the basic literacy and numeracy skills needed to keep up. For families like Pavithra’s, where English is a second language, it can be even more challenging to ensure children start school with the early literacy skills they need.

That’s where quality children’s books – like those that from the Imagination Library run by United Way – can play a critical role. As we sit talking to his mum, Basavaguru confidently flips through the pages of his favourite book, 1,2,3 to the Zoo!, identifying and counting the animals he finds. And for Pavithra, it’s not just English language and numeracy skills that these books are giving her son, but a vivid imagination and a love of reading too.

I can see a lot of changes in my son’s life. Before, he used to watch a lot of TV. But after these books, he likes (to read) more than 3 or 4 times a day. It helps to improve (his) imagination, better than watching videos!

Pavithra also speaks with pride about her son’s excitement on receiving his own special books since he joined the program last year, and on his ability to now recognise and read out his name on the package that arrives in the mail each month.

He gets really excited. He goes and picks up his books, and he reads his name on the envelope. And he just opens it and reads the cover page, and turns the pages…

The books are part of a growing home library that is possible thanks to the generosity of supporters like you. Each book is much treasured by Basavaguru, and by his mum, who simply couldn’t afford to buy books every month, as much as she might want to. It’s one of the reasons why Pavithra’s such a strong advocate for her community’s Imagination Library.

Books are very important in my life. I grew up reading books, and I want the same culture, the same habit of reading books in my children’s lives as well. It’s a very good program and United Way is doing a very good job helping families and communities… I’m very thankful to them.

More UWA Stories

The impact of the work we undertake is inspirational and far-reaching. From giving a child a head-start in their learning journey, to empowering young people to realise their potential in the workforce - the stories of collaboration and lasting change are the sole reason we strive to continue and expand the work that we do.