Indonesia: School libraries to nurture love of reading
Using school libraries to encourage reading and tackle illiteracy in Indonesian rural farming communities.
The livelihoods of farmers in Indonesian communities are affected by a number of external factors, including the variations of weather conditions and the uncertainties inherent to the crops they grow. Another key challenge they face in order to ensure long-term prospects for the communities is to provide their children and youth with a solid education that will enable the next generations to pursue and further develop their parent’s economic activity.
On the islands of Sulawesi and Java, among smallholder producers of patchouli and vetiver (two iconic natural perfumery ingredients), one of the obstacles to quality primary education is the lack of infrastructure and resources. This situation led to a project launched in 2018 that aims to nurture the 5-13 year-old children’s love of reading, in order to help tackle basic education issues.
The project is conducted in partnership with the local Non Governmental Organisation Taman Bacaan Pelangi (Rainbow Reading Gardens). It consists of renovating or building libraries associated with primary schools, equipping them with a selection of books for children to read or borrow, and training teachers to help them manage the libraries and develop reading-related activities.
In 2018, three libraries were opened in patchouli-growing villages on Sulawesi island and one was opened in a vetiver-growing area, on Java island. These libraries are now operating and will serve as stepping stones for the school children on their way to education.
“We let the kids visit the library and every day they don’t want to leave. We even have to tell them to go home!”
Ms. Rahmania, School Principal in Katoi