Text: Jessica Permatasari | Picture: BUP and BFM
People still believe that a book is the window to the world. Indeed, reading is one of the ways to open our mind, enrich our knowledge — see the world.
However, we can’t deny that Indonesians do not really like reading. Well, not all Indonesians, but most of them. How many hours do you spend reading in a day? How many hours do you spend in the library or read- ing room in a week? How many books you can read in a month?
Here are some answers from VDMS alumni.
- Isna Kamalia (alumna – ITS) spends a minimum of two hours a day to read a book or paper. She also regularly goes to the library or reading room; at least ten hours a week she spends there.
- Albert Christian (alumnus – UNIKA Soegijapranata) can be with his books for three to four hours a day and ‘conquers’ six or seven books a month.
- Milla Sejahtera (alumna – Universitas Nusa Cendana)
- spends three to five hours a day to read scientific matters, but it can be more if she reads comics or novels. She has just spent three days for one Harry Potter novel (which is thousands pages thick).
- Rahmanu Hermawan (alumnus – UGM) spends more or less an hour a day to read articles in the Internet. But he rarely goes to the library.
- Dwi Marleni (alumna – USD) loves reading so much, but she doesn’t have enough time to read. She spends less than an hour a day to read the newspaper. Well, she used to spend hours to read when she was in college.
- Ahmad Firly (alumnus – IPB) only needs one to two hours a day with his books and almost never goes to the library to read.
Books are actually close to us. It depends on us whether we want to read them or not. Thankfully, we, as educated people, are willing to spend several hours (or at least an hour) a day to read whatever can be read.
However, look around us. We can find books easily, can’t we? Bookstores are everywhere, even those that sell secondhand books. Is everyone as fortunate as we are? I can say ‘no’. In several areas in Indonesia,
Books are actually close to us. It depends on us whether we want to read them or not.
books are difficult to find. What can we do? We can help them by providing books. Here are some com- munities who help to provide books:
Buku Untuk Papua (BUP) founded by Dayu Rifan- to who wants to help his friend, Longginus Pekei, to build home libraries in Papua. Why Papua? They found that -based on BPS 2012- Papua has the highest level of illiteracy; around 39.23% of Papuans are illiterates.
Its vision is to inspire and create educated Papuans, by donating books for Papua children and establishing home-libraries in Papua. Besides, BUP also creates monthly valuable classes (Kelas Cerdas) for volunteers and public outside Papua. They use social media to build media platforms and discuss about education in Papua.
Where do the books come from? They are from peo- ple who donate their books. They have volunteers who collect books in Yogyakarta, Semarang, Solo, Bandung, Bogor, Jakarta, Surabaya, Malang, Madiun, Jember, Makassar, Denpasar, and Balikpapan.
Until now, there are more than 15 home libraries in Papua spread around Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, Bintuni, Fak-Fak, Nabire, Enarotali, Yahukimo, Timika, Wamena, Timika, and Merauke. They also have volunteers in each home-library to teach the children regularly.
Tagline: “One book, rise Papua up!” / “Satu buku bangkitkan Papua!”
Read more about them in http://bukuntukpapua. org/
Books for Mountain (BFM) is initiated by Gadjah Mada University students who did their KKN in East Lombok in 2010. They found that many schools (in remote areas) do not have enough books to read. They, with other volunteers from different universities, hold several projects to reach their aim, such as pembangunan perpustakaan, sekolah berjalan, bedah perpustakaan, and voluntariness.
Pembangunan perpustakaan is their main project. They establish libraries in remote areas in Indonesia. Until now, they have some 18 libraries in East Lom- bok, Central Java, East Java, West Java, South Sulawesi, Lampung, North Sumatera, Nusa Tenggara Timur, and West Papua. Besides, they also help existing libraries to manage their books (bedah perpustakaan).
Another program is Sekolah Berjalan, a program that allows the volunteers to teach in remote areas in Yogyakarta. They move from one area to another. Furthermore, if you love traveling and teaching,
you can join their volunteers program. They combine teaching and tourism in one package. Besides being teachers, the volunteers who join can also take part in the residents’ daily activities.
Tagline: “We love kids, we love books, we adore Indonesia”
Read more about them in http://bookformountain. tumblr.com/
Komunitas Buku Bekas (KoBuKas), initiated by Henda Gandamanah, provides secondhand books to make changes. They support some home-libraries in (hopefully) all around Indonesia by donating useful books. They get the books merely from donation.
What makes them different is they then apply the skills in the books into people’s daily life. For example, they provide cooking, motivation, and marketing books. Based on those books, they organize programs for young mothers so that they can apply what is written in the books and create something. They call it as social intervention, which needs steps, such as social approach, needs assessment, and possible application methods.
The nearest project is to support home-libraries in Cikarang, East Bekasi, Lampung, and Kapuas Hulu (West Kalimantan).
Tagline: “Pemberdayaan Masyarakat Melalui Buku Bekas”
Those are only three communities who care for education in Indonesia. There are also Buku Bagi NTT, Penyala Indonesia, and others. They, in their own way, have the same purpose: providing book to those who are willing to learn; opening the window to those who are willing to see the world.