FIRST SET OF TAS UNTUK SAHABAT SCHOOL BAGS ON ROUTE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The first set of school bags are bursting full of supplies and books as they make their way to a new home – to the community of Gubuk Baca Lentera Negeri!
Sahabat Anak, through its Tas Untuk Sahabat campaign, will be sending school supplies to kids in the community of Gubuk Baca Lentera Negeri (GBLN), located in Mount Kunci, a small village in Jabung, Malang, East Java. GBLN will be the first of a number of communities to receive the Tas Untuk Sahabat school bags and supplies.
Farming provides a livelihood for most people in Mount Kunci Village; and for children, farming life often trumps education. Most children in Mount Kunci Village leave formal education after elementary school to join their parents in the field or take care of livestock. Only very few children continue on to junior or senior school. Literacy rates in Mount Kunci are very low and most children don’t make a habit of reading or learning.
In 2014, Fachrul Alamsyah, a 5th grade teacher at the local elementary school, grew frustrated with seeing the same patterns emerge year after year. So together with a few of his other friends, he decided to do something about it. They built a 4 meters x 4 meters wooden shack in Mount Kunci, with the hope that it could act as a study centre for children. They named it Gubuk Baca Lentera Negeri (Reading Shack – a Nation’s Lantern).
The Shack, armed with a humble collection of books and a dedicated group of volunteers, provides a place for the kids of Mount Kunci to realize that learning is fun. The hope is not only that the kids will use the shack to improve their reading habits and knowledge, but that their parents will finally realise the importance of education for their children. Activities in the Shack are held every Saturday after school, tutorial classes are held every Thursday, and the small library is free to access any day of the week.
Counting and drawing are among the kid’s favourite activities. If the kids start to get bored, the volunteers prepare educational games like Dakon (a traditional game), chess, or badminton – any game or activity can provide kids with an opportunity to learn at the Shack. The surrounding environment is utilised wherever possible with large open fields and rivers found close by, and the kids are taught to make compost fertilizer and compost art – skills that they can use when helping on the farm. Some of the kids will finish the day by searching for cocoa fruit to give to the volunteers who have taught them – their way of saying thanks.
Unfortunately, some of the older kids can’t join in with the activities at the Shack after school because farming duties, such as feeding the livestock, milking, or looking for firewood, are seen as being more important. Fachrul Alamsyah, and others who volunteer at the Shack hope to see this change over time – as the community becomes more aware about the importance of education. Sahabat Anak hopes that the delivery of new school bags and books will help both the children, and importantly their parents, appreciate the value of learning.
The Shack has become a second home for the kids of Mount Kunci where they study, play and freely express their minds. All over Indonesia similar projects are being run by passionate people, helping thousands of children in need. A huge thanks to all those who have donated so far – your bags and books are already on their way to the kids of Mount Kunci. To everyone else – please donate now, and let’s be part of more beautiful missions like Gubuk Baca Lentera Negeri.
• Donations in amounts of Rp 100,000.00 can be transferred into the following bank account: BCA Kalimalang Jakarta 230-344-4432, Account name: Yay Komunitas Sahabat Anak Jkt. Donors are asked to add a nominal amount of 15 Rupiahs into their donation for administration purposes.
(Maria Leodora / Alice Garner)