Tag Archives: Caribbean literacy

Who’s Hands?

Hands Across the Sea is the husband and wife team of Tom and Harriet, a Boston couple spreading literacy one book at a time. They’ve recently pledged to support Wadadli Pen 2013. And that’s not all they’ve been doing in Antigua and Barbuda, and the eastern Caribbean, as you’ll see below:


Media release


December 13, 2013


$1,000 Literacy Award for Villa Primary School

Children love their exciting new borrowing library

Students at Villa Primary School have shown how keen they are to improve their literacy skills and better their education by winning the 2012/2013 Hands Literacy Award for Antigua.

The children and school staff have enthusiastically embraced Hands Across the Sea’s CLASS (Caribbean Literacy and School Support) programme which has donated 1,300 new books over the past two years to their library. The 2012/2013 Hands Literacy Award (www.handsacrossthesea.net/HandsLiteracyAward.htm) comes with an additional U.S. $1,000 in new books or other literacy assistance.


Hands Across the Sea’s Co-founder and Executive Director Harriet Linskey said, “There is no doubt that improved literacy skills open the door to a better life, and the students and staff at Villa Primary have certainly embraced our programme with enthusiasm. The school now has a vibrant borrowing library and a passionate commitment to literacy.”

Back in December of 2010 when U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer Ina Howe decided to create a borrowing library at Villa Primary, the school had been without a functioning library for 15 years. Howe, along with former school principals Mrs. King and Mrs. James, began raising money for books and getting teachers, parents, local businesses, and craftsmen involved in the project. Along the way, Villa staff members Mrs. Leah Robinson (Deputy Principal), Mrs. Barbara Christopher (Reading Teacher), and Ms. Delina Graham (Grade K Teacher) were instrumental in bringing the library to life. Villa Primary School’s library was officially opened in November of 2011. One year later, the library’s success has been measured not only by its bright, welcoming appearance and organized bookshelves and reading tables, but by the high number of books read or taken home every week by Villa’s 295 students.

Since starting the organization in 2007, Hands Across the Sea’s co-founders, Harriet and Tom Linskey, have been dedicated to raising the literacy levels of Eastern Caribbean children, from pre-school to high school, through their Caribbean Literacy and School Support (CLASS) program. The CLASS program, in concert with each school year’s Hands Wish Lists (school principals, teachers, and U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers tell Hands which books they need), works  in three ways: 1. Send Great New Books; 2. Create Borrowing Libraries (usually a school library); and 3. Foster Sustainability of the library through support at the school and from the local community. Hands Across the Sea has shipped over 141,000 new and near-new books and 220 boxes of teaching resources to 291 schools, community libraries, reading programs, and youth centers, reaching over 55,000 children. Hands Across the Sea works on the islands of Anguilla, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.

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