In January 2015, the team from the Rainbow Reading Gardens went to Flores, East Nusa Tenggara with the aim to set up, not one, not two, but eight new libraries in the area. The setting up of the eight libraries is part of Rainbow Reading Gardens’s collaboration with Room to Read, an international NGO that promotes literacy and gender equality in education. One of Room to Read’s activities is to set up libraries at elementary schools in remote areas around the world.
The visit in January was to survey several elementary schools, based on the data from the Office of Education, Youth, and Sport of Manggarai Barat district, and select eight schools which would benefit most from the project. These eight schools will become our partners in the pilot project to adopt Room to Read’s library system.
Overall, we visited 17 elementary schools in four subdistricts:Komodo, Mbeliling, Sano Nggoang and Lembor.We surveyed the facilities and conversed with the schools’ principal, teachers and students. Then we ran the schools through a predetermined list of requirements to gauge their eligibility. This includes the ratio between the teacher and student, commitment of the principal, availability of a librarian, and the building facility.
Throughout the survey, we were encouraged by the enthusiasm demonstrated by the principals and the teachers on the program. We also received a very warm and cheerful welcome from the students. Despite their simple condition – some schools are located in the middle of a forest, the teachers and students’ spirit in learning does not deter at all. The situation has made our days during the visit much more enjoyable.
After surveying and carefully considering all factors, we have selected the eight schools for the project. They are:
1. SDI Waenakeng in Lembor subdistrict
2. SDI Werang in Sano Nggoang subdistrict
3. SDI Kondas in Mbeliling subdistrict
4. SDI Tondong Raja in Mbeliling subdistrict
5. SDI Merombok in Komodo subdistrict
6. SDI Nggorang in Komodo subdistrict
7. SDN Labuan Bajo 1 in Komodo subdistrict
8. SDN Labuan Bajo 2 in Komodo subdistrict
On January 20th 2015, Rainbow Reading Gardens signed the MoUs with the schools, which were representated by their principal. The Head of the Office of Education, Youth, and Sport of Manggarai Barat district also attended the signing ceremony.
It is our hope that the children in eastern indonesia will benefit from our presence in their areas, especially through this program. We truly believe that with the support from Room to Read and its established and proven library system, we could have better quality libraries in various regions in eastern Indonesia. The children will not only get access to storybooks, but they would also enjoy various fun and exciting ways of learning to read and expressing themselves.
Let’s increase the reading interest of the children of eastern Indonesia.