Dili, April 12, 2011 — On March 28, 2011, The Asia Foundation with collaboration from a local school, St. Jose College, organized a book fair in Dili. Nearly 2,000 books were displayed and distributed to eligible organizations, including community libraries, schools and universities, local organizations, and religious institutions.
During the four-hour Dili book fair, hundreds of attendees not only had access to books, but they were also entertained with modern and traditional dancing, storytelling, singing, acoustic guitar, and student performances. Timor-Leste Books for Asia Unit Manager, Hugo Fernandes, explained, “We encourage schools to be creative in thinking of ways to use books as educational materials while also having fun. What we witnessed at the book fair in St. Jose College is a great example. Books have no meaning if you take them and keep them sitting on your bookshelves.”
As part of its Books for Asia program, the Asia Foundation organizes book fairs as a way to motivate students to read books. Students and communities are invited to these book fairs with the opportunity to access books and educational materials in various topics, such as history, geography, math, grammar, and more.
St. Jose College, a longtime Book for Asia partner, distributes English books to its students as a way to encourage students to improve their English language skills. Despite initial language barriers, these books also inspire students to think about their dreams and prepare for their future. “Books for Asia helps me learn English. Even though I am not fluent enough to understand everything, I try to read some of the books distributed by The Asia Foundation. I read a lot and can see that my vocabulary is improving. By understanding English, I believe someday I can share our country and culture to the world”, said Julio Minano Barros, student and journalist at St. Jose College.