Aceh - Education Recovery Project Through Books for Aceh

Latest News from Indonesia

November 2009

The five Motorbike Libraries, which have been operating since February 2006, are continuing to run very well.  They serve schools, reading communities, villages and health clinics.  The local children and their families are very enthusiastic about this access of books.

There are no longer any refugee camps in Aceh.  The MBLs are now serving the schools in the region with cooperation with PKPU.

In Maumere  on the island of Flores, the MBLs are serving schools, orphanages, and health clinics in cooperation with SOS Desa Taruna.

In Yogyakarta, in cooperation with the Karina Foundation, the MBL serves schools in the villages and reading communities,  in which the majority of members are children.

Report April 2006

The IBBY Motorbike Libraries

Report by Dr. Murti Bunanta, INABBY

The Education Recovery Project is a joint project that was set up between IBBY, the Society for the Advancement of Children’s Literature (SACL) and the Murti Bunanta Foundation for the purpose of helping the recovery of education in the areas affected by the Tsunami of December 2004 tsunami areas and other needy areas in Indonesia through books. This project will spread the vision and mission of IBBY to many parts of Indonesia.

On 22 February, three IBBY Motorbike Libraries were launched. Approximately 100 guests attended on the launching day and 39 media representatives from newspapers, television and magazines covered the event. The IBBY Motorbike Libraries Project is perhaps the first of its kind used to disseminate the love of reading around the world. The Motorbike Libraries can be used and operated in not only in developing countries, but also in developed countries, especially because they are able to reach remote areas.

Each IBBY Motorbike Library can carry up to 1,500 books, at present 700 books are loaded onto the motorbikes. Two will be used in Banda Aceh for schools, orphanages, refugee camps and the surrounding communities. These two libraries have been given to a local NGO called PKPU (Pos Keadilan Peduli Ummat). PKPU will be responsible for the libraries, financially as well as the handling and operational aspects. The third IBBY Motorbike Library has been given to SOS-Desa Taruna, a local NGO in Maumere on the island of Flores in eastern Indonesia. Maumere suffered from a tsunami ten years ago and this gift will help them to rebuild the education of school children and their teachers. Another Motorbike Library will be commissioned with the help of IBBY funding. It will be donated to Nias in northern Aceh. Nias was also devastated by the recent tsunami, and at present is still working on the reconstruction of its infrastructure.

IBBY Motorbike Libraries are designed in such a way that children as well as adults, will find it amusing to see it decorated with pictures from books illustrated by prominent Indonesian illustrators. Each motorbike plays a jingle attracting children as it arrives. The jingle is a song by Suyadi who is a famous storyteller, children’s author, puppeteer and illustrator. This song is also used to greet children each time SACL organizes a programme related to the promotion of the love of reading and encouraging them to be good readers.

To mark the launch of the Motorbike Libraries five picture books of folk tales were published with the funding of IBBY. Three of them are written in English and Indonesian, while the other two are in Indonesian and Acehnese. The books in Acehnese are particularly dedicated to helping the children in Aceh with their education. Each title has a print run of 3,000 copies and have IBBY’s logo and words of dedication in the front of each book. Seventy-five packages have been distributed to representatives from schools, orphanages, Moslem boarding schools and small libraries. All the recipients warmly welcomed the books. The books will be used in many parts of Indonesia, such as Maluku, Bali, Central Java, Jakarta, East Java, West Java and Kalimantan.

Many more packages will be distributed over the next two years in cooperation with other NGOs, schools, and departments of education, as well as with INABBY (Indonesian Board on Books for Young People) the IBBY National Section of IBBY.

The Society of the Advancement of Children’s Literature is proud to announce that the donation is not only from the IBBY-Tsunami Appeal, but also from other international and national donors, allowing us to purchase thousands of books as well as another two motorbike libraries. These additional Motorbike Libraries were also launched on 22 February at the same time as the three IBBY Motorbike Libraries.

All five Motorbike Libraries will help the Society for the Advancement of Children’s Literature to build a love of reading, an eagerness to study, and to encourage the understanding of humankind among the children, teachers, educators, parents and others in Indonesia.

For Murti Bunanta the Motorbike Libraries project is her dream come true. We hope that the children will pay more attention to the “vendors” who sell intellectual nutrition rather than those who are selling snacks!


Education Recovery Project through Books for Aceh

May 2005

Report presented by Murti Bunanta, Individual Member of IBBY

We, a team of four people from the Society for the Advancement of Children's Literature (SACL), have been visiting Aceh. We were there for three full days for training and storytelling. We arrived on 17 May 2005 and met with a local NGO; we flew back home on 21 May after another meeting. I would like to share with you our great trip there.

1. Trainings:

Approximately 100 participants from several schools, orphanage carers, teachers from refugee camps and others were attending this training. We ran daily trainings for 4 hours during the daytime. It was the first time they received any training on storytelling and how to use books effectively. At the beginning they were reserved and puzzled but we could break the ice and in only ten minutes they became very enthusiastic until the training was finished. They want us to come back for more sessions.

2. Children:

We have visited children at several orphanages and camps. Each day after lunch we went to locations that were 30 to 45 minutes away from each other. We went through devastated areas that made us sad. The children were wonderful and very responsive to stories. They are eager to learn the English language. Many times they greeted us with English words such as hello, thank you, besides the usual Moslem greetings. In one of the orphanages they wanted me to read the stories in English. They told me that now they speak mostly Acehnese in the orphanages.

3. Trauma:

Some of the children are still in trauma. But most look tough enough and they themselves wanted to share with us their story about the tsunami. There were two earthquakes during our visit. One was rather strong and we had to calm down some of the children.

4. Schools:

The government has not started yet to rebuild the schools; perhaps rebuilding will begin in a few months. But some of private institutions have. SACL will cooperate with some of them with teacher trainings and operating libraries in schools.

5. Books:

There are two mobile libraries serving several areas but it is not enough. Besides they only have few good children’s books. IBBY’s donation can be used for book publishing and this is a unique and unusual effort. No one has done this. The books will be bilingual: Indonesian - English (3 books) and Indonesian - Acehnese (2 books).

6. NGO’s:

I have the feeling they don't work in a coordinated way; each NGO works individually on its own project and no one can enter the others’ areas. SACL will cooperate with Moslem and Christian NGO’s, private institutions, Moslem boarding schools leaders, and government institutions such as the Division for Teacher Upgrading of the National Education Department and the Culture Department; also with local authorities. So the distribution of the books will cover big areas in the province.

7. People:

We had a good experience. People and children we met were friendly and I think they are also open to the foreigners. But we still have to be alert with the separatist. Once they came to the place where we were staying while we were out doing our storytelling. Luckily they didn't come again until we went home.

8. Future plans:

IBBY Friends are all welcome to help Aceh in education and teacher trainings. Anne Pellowski, Margaret MacDonald and Katherine Paterson are especially welcome. People in Aceh need to be encouraged to continue their lives. Aceh needs trainers from abroad. Perhaps in the year 2007 IBBY can start to send experts. Hotels are always fully booked. We were staying at an orphanage and donated mattresses, fans, bed sheets, pillows, etc, because it was empty when we arrived. But we enjoyed our trip. Hopefully by 2007 there will be more hotels available for visitors.

9. Motorbike libraries:

After considering the locations where libraries should be available, I think motorbikes are the best method to reach those places at the moment. We could set up 4 motorbike libraries first and after the schools are built, we could use bicycle libraries.

10. Children's Festival:

We will hold the VIth Children's Festival in Jakarta, 23-26 July. In this occasion we will announce IBBY donation. Anne Pellowski, Margaret MacDonald, Akiko Sueyoshi, and Ohanashi Caravan will be there. We will have a group of Acehnese children who will give a performance. We met them and discovered their talents on our visit. There will be 37 performances from theatre and school groups as well as storytellers from Singapore. Read more about the Festival