New Online Campaign Brings Children’s Books to Remote Indonesia
May 2, 2012
Last week, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia launched an online campaign with Pearson Foundation’s We Give Books initiative to help bring 5,000 new children’s books to schools in rural Indonesia. For each book read online, We Give Books will donate one new book to support Books for Asia’s partner, Taman Bacaan Pelangi (Rainbow Reading Gardens), an Indonesian non-profit that establishes children’s libraries in remote areas of eastern Indonesia. Below is an excerpt from a April 29 Jakarta Globe article about the campaign and the schools that will receive the books.
In Indonesia, with a culture evolving from oral traditions, reading has been slow to take hold. But advocates have been persistent, saying reading can help expand children’s imaginations and broaden their knowledge, especially in the far corners of the archipelago where access to television, the Internet and media generally tend to be limited.
Taman Bacaan Pelangi has established 23 small libraries in remote villages, with five new branches this year, including in East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi. The Books for Asia campaign will donate English-language children’s books to these libraries, whose shelves currently hold collections ranging from 400 to 12,000 titles.
Schools in these villages also try to teach students English during their fourth year of elementary school, and organizers hope the donated books will reinforce those efforts. “Having new books on the shelves is very exciting for the children,” said Nila Tanzil, the founder of Taman Bacaan Pelangi. “Seeing these new books already motivates them to read and learn English.
“The unique feature of the Rainbow Reading Gardens is that every six months, books from a village are swapped with books from another library from a nearby village,” she added. “So the books are always new, which keeps the kids excited.” She said Taman Bacaan Pelangi will be grateful for the Asia Foundation’s contributions. “It’s very hard to access books in remote parts of Indonesia,” she said. “Bookstores are rare, even school libraries’ collections are limited, and for that, we need all the support we can get.”
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