Giving Marginalised Children a Window to the World
“A book is a window to the world.” This phrase emphasizes how important a book is in life. Books are a source of knowledge that can include many ideas and inspire new thoughts. Unfortunately, not all of the children in Prumpung have access to books to read. Either they do not own their own books or they have not experienced the joy of reading. Most of the time they do not know that a book can help them to broaden their knowledge of the world.
SA Prumpung has had a library for a year now. So far the library has been enjoyed by the children who attend the SA Prumpung tutorial session. This is because the library is located inside the house and is open during our programs. The time available to enjoy the library is very limited.
Even though we have the library not all the children like to read. For a long time this has been our HOMEWORK to help them enjoy reading and to help them understand the value of reading. We have also been thinking about all the other children that live in the Prumpung neighborhood. What if they like to read, but again do not have access to books because they do not join the SA Prumpung program. So we asked ourselves, what can we do for them? What can we do so that they have the same opportunities as other children?
We had discussed with the other volunteers and the adik volunteers (these are marginalised teenagers who started out in our program and now are volunteers for the younger children) about how to invite other children, outside of our program to also enjoy the library facilities. However, because of some limitations on our behalf we have not been able to assist them. We were still wondering and discussing, “how can we reach other children?”
The Gerobak Pintar or The Smart Cart, finally became the solution. This type of cart is usually used by people in Prumpung (and all over Indonesia) to sell street snacks or nasi goreng (fried rice). Instead we made our cart into a mobile library. We changed the compartments for snacks into places filled with books and a CD player. When we push the cart around we play music and while the children read the books from the cart, they can also enjoy the music. The cart also has a little space with a curtain which can be used for story telling and puppet shows.
This Smart Cart is more like a mobile library. Each weekend, the teenage volunteers will push it around the Pumpung neighborhood. They go to places which are popular hang out spots for the children such as the Prumpung Cemetery. The Smart Cart has an array of books. The CD player can play children songs which are rarely heard nowadays as most of the children listen to adult songs. We believe it is important that children can still listen to children songs which are free from adult themes.
This program is run by the teenage volunteers. We really hope that the Smart Cart will be an effective tool in helping us reach out to the children that are not under the supervision of SA Prumpung. This program officially began in 2012. However, because the teenage volunteers wanted to prepare themselves and make sure they had a good system in place, they have been running the Smart Cart since November last year.
We must say a big thank you to Kinderland, another community organisation that shares the burden of helping marginalised Indonesian children, for working with us to help make our dream of the Smart Cart come true.
Toward a better Indonesia.
- Why do you volunteer? (thevoiceofsahabatanak.wordpress.com)