Reading Legacy

A reading legacy for a healthy, flourishing community

Kak, can we read books now?” asked the three bright-eyed children.

Yayasan Pendar Pagi’s Kalianyar community center houses several collections of books provided by donors. The colourful books invite children take a peek and look through their pages. Seeing this happen again and again, we realize how attractive, quality books are needed by neighbourhood children.

Ironically, the children we serve live in a large city but have difficulty accessing quality books. The main reason for this is lack of awareness of the importance of reading. For parents, education is going to school or extra lessons and getting good marks. Often food and school supplies are felt to be more important than reading. This is understandable, especially for low income parents. Yet sometimes television and online games also contribute to the declining interest in reading.

YPP’s vision is for healthy, flourishing communities,  and this calls for people who are creative and well informed. What better to set children on the right path than exploring pages of brightly coloured books filled with knowledge, rich in inspiration?

Beyond all expectations, friends of YPP contributed large quantities of books in good condition, which had once belonged to their own children. Happily we were able to announce to the local kids that they would soon have their own library.

Now, twice a week the children can feast on good quality books provided by these generous donors, in an open area on Mondays and inside on Tuesdays.

One day a young mother came by, spoon feeding her two-year old daughter. Attracted by the bustle inside, she brought the child in and began reading parenting and recipe books. Soon she was followed by her husband, a newspaper seller, who read with great interest a book we gave him about entrepreneurship. In the meantime, their daughter ran back and forth to his mother for spoonfuls of food while looking with fascination at several books. The food disappeared quickly that day, said his mother!

We asked one of the regular patrons of the library, an 11 year old child, “Do you like having the library?”

“I love it!”

“Why?”

“Here I can learn so many things. And sometimes what I read shows up in my school exams!”

Two simple but encouraging stories. We hope that more and more Indonesian children and families realize how their world can be enriched with access to quality books – and that they pass on these riches all the way to their grandchildren.