Students at SDN 007 Gumanti in the province of Riau, Indonesia, recently enjoyed participating in a Tanoto Foundation-sponsored activity in which they created their own art and stories based on what they had read in a new book. The classroom was filled with excitement as the students drew, colored, and discussed what they had learned.
The project came about after the Tanoto Foundation offered a training session on classroom library management. Although SDN 007 Gumanti does not yet have its own school library, teachers learned methods for creating and sustaining a library that will get students interested in reading. Teachers learned how to use books, conversation, and colorful posters as the starting points for in-depth engagement with literature. Now that they have a greater understanding of the important role libraries play in students’ education, these educators have committed themselves to organizing the most relevant and interesting collection of books possible.
The Tanoto Foundation has worked with more than 200 schools throughout the provinces of Jambi, Riau, and North Sumatra to provide training for teachers and administrators in the best methods of getting their students to enjoy reading and learning. Established by one of Indonesia’s most successful entrepreneurs, Sukanto Tanoto, the foundation strives to empower people in underserved parts of the country with education and other self-development opportunities.
The need for libraries of all kinds in the developing world is great. As Indonesia has experienced rapid economic growth over the last half-century, its concomitant need for public education has become urgent. In order to compete internationally, and to foster democratic ideals among its citizens, the country will need more access to libraries as central locations for the dissemination of knowledge. Indonesia has a long history of the development of public libraries, private rental libraries, and even what are often called “reading gardens” for children. The country’s people are hungry for new books, new information, and new ideas as they work together to build a better future. Through the efforts of the Tanoto Foundation, teachers in rural areas of Riau are now better equipped to turn these dreams into reality.