In the autumn of 2007, the IBBY Documentation Centre of Books for Disabled Young People in Norway was approached by Dr. Murti Bunanta, President and founder of the Society for the Advancement of Children’s Literature (SACL) and President of the Indonesian Section of IBBY, INABBY, discussing the possibility of having a seminar and workshop in Jakarta about books for children with disabilities.
SACL was established in 1987. The objectives are among others to promote reading habits in Indonesia and to increase the quality of children’s books. SACL works hand in hand with government bodies in many activities related to children’s reading habits. Volunteers from SACL visit sick children in hospital and donate books to orphanages and school libraries. In 1990 SACL became the national section of IBBY under the name of INABBY. This section was re-established in 2005 with new board members and works closely with SACL in many ways.
It was agreed that Sissel Hofgaard Swensen of the Norwegian organization Books for Everyone and myself should come to Jakarta in May 2008. The seminar and all our expenses were met by the Indonesian Department of Education, care of Dr. Ekodjatmiko Sukarso at the Department for Special Education.
The seminar was held at a large centre for disabilities at Lebak Bulus, May 17-18. 130 SEN teachers from 60 special schools in Jakarta were present. The lectures covered books for children with Autism, reading/learning difficulties, Augmentative and Alternative communication (Braille, pictograms or PCS, Bliss, sign supported language,), criteria for writing books for/teaching disabled persons.
The Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities exhibition 2007 were displayed and discussed, both at the seminar and at a meeting at the SACL office for members and friends of the Foundation.
The next day a workshop about making tactile books for various kinds of disabilities was also held at Lebak Bulus. For inspiration we had brought many examples of tactile books, as well as a suitcase full of tactile elements to be used. Many of the teachers had no earlier experience with tactile books, and they were very enthusiastic. Though time did not allow for finishing a proper book, many beautiful and well planned dummies were created. Hopefully the workshop will instigate a whole new “home industry” of people making books for disabled children! In this occasion also SACL has donated books to all 60 special schools whose teachers attending the workshop for their libraries. These books (5 titles) were published by SACL and sponsored by IBBY.
Dr. Murti Bunanta and her staff worked endlessly to make the seminar and our stay a memorable one.