The children from SDN Masangan Primary School, which is located in Gresik East Java, Indonesia, told us they want to visit China to see pandas and the Great Wall. One of the boys said he had dreamed of space after reading a book that introduces the planets. From their smiles, I see confidence in themselves and the desire of creating a bigger future.
We visited a literacy programme in Indonesia, which is funded by the IKEA Foundation and run by our NGO partner Room to Read. The programme develops books that are suitable for local young readers and builds libraries in local public primary schools in rural areas. Teachers in those schools are trained to be able to read books for young children and conduct reading activities with group of children.
Through the literacy programme, young children can have a strong interest and capability to read. Through reading, children can explore a much wider world, despite geography and economic limitation.
We visited four schools. The libraries are colourful and decorated with children’s art works. The reading area is comfortable. All the books are displayed so well that you can see the book cover directly. Children told us they like the library very much and some of them volunteer to read the books for younger children in their school, and help the librarian to maintain the place. I asked the volunteers if any of the young children run away when they are reading books to them. The volunteers said all the children were so much attracted by the stories and no one ever ran out.
Their teacher shared with us that in the class, they taught children that oil is found underground, but they didn’t know where oil comes from. In one of the books about dinosaurs, the children got to know that oil comes from dinosaur soil.
I’m so happy to know the books have widened children’s knowledge. I believe through reading, children will think bigger and desire for exploring more about the world.