Kiara shares her passion for literacy

Forbes High student and Indigenous Literacy Foundation ambassador Kiara Harris.
Forbes High student and Indigenous Literacy Foundation ambassador Kiara Harris.

Kiara Harris is only in Year 9, but her passion for literacy is taking her places.

The Forbes High School student is an ambassador for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, and her determination to put books in kids' hands has taken her from Sydney to Central Australia.

Kiara, who has moved to Forbes this year, became one of just 10 young ambassadors for the Foundation two years ago.

Applying via video was pretty nerve-wracking, Kiara admits, but she was selected for the program and now she's helping give more children the chance to enjoy a good book.

"I just think it's important that all children have the same opportunity to read books," Kiara said.

Kiara and her family have collected and redistributed hundreds of donated books, from her home town of Condobolin to Wilcannia and all the way to Yulara, the Aboriginal community near Uluru.

In Condo, Kiara has also placed book boxes in local businesses for children to enjoy while they are reading.

She's hosted a book exchange where families could choose a book, and people could make a donation toward the Foundation.

Travelling to remote communities, she's had the thrill of seeing how children excited children get to receive a book and how they treasure it over time.

Fundraising is also part of the ambassador's role, and most recently that saw the teen host a movie night in Condobolin.

Proceeds support Indigenous Literacy Foundation programs including:

  • The Book Supply (where books are provided to children in remote areas of Australia, all ages from birth to an adult)
  • Community Literacy Project, (producing stories written by local community members)
  • -Book Buzz (works with play groups or child centres for children under 5)

Being an ambassador also has its perks: Kiara met Jessica Mauboy and spent time with performer Justine Clarke and author Alison Lester in Sydney last year.

Kiara has also had quite a busy schedule spreading the word about the foundation, which publishes books in Indigenous languages and provides programs for under fives as well as providing books to remote communities.

Kiara has spoken at events ranging from the regional librarians conference in Condobolin through to the Orange Readers and Writers Festival on the weekend.

But this motivated teen hasn't stopped there.

Kiara has also taken steps to preserve and share what she has learned of our local Indigenous language.

She just taking delivery of her third "let's learn Wiradjuri" book, this one on local animals.

The self-published books arose from the student's experience learning Wiradjuri and helped her commit it to memory.

Her books, "Heads, shoulders, knees and toes" and counting in Wiradjuri, are illustrated with photographs and have been donated to schools to help with their language program.

"Australian animals", illustrated by Indigenous artist Cheree Stokes, is on the presses now.