Children devour words and pictures in a newly opened library at a school in Padang in Western Sumatra.
Books are luxury here. And fifth grade student Fiolisa Anggraini is pleased to see so many:
“What I like most from this new library is the books, good books. It really can improve my knowledge.”
This is one of dozens of libraries that the charity has built in Indonesia since 2009, in Padang, Sidoarjo and on the Island of Bali.
The organization’s founder, Business Professor James Owens says children in Indonesia as in other developing countries have plenty of talents but few resources.
“They go to school and they learn and they are very smart. They don’t have access to books of history and fables and stories and science that can really spark their imagination and let them dream.”
Libraries here cost between $ 5,000 and 10,000.
At the University of Southern California where Owens teaches, students held a 5 kilometer run in March and raised $ 8,000 for the latest library. Stephanie Wetzel belongs to the group’s student supporters.
“We take reading so for granted. Here I think that people really want the opportunity to be able to give reading literacy to other children who don’t have that.”
In Padang, Teacher and headmaster Amril Lasmana says the library has made a difference in the children’s life.
“The enthusiasm, interest and motivation of our students in learning increased. The library building has been renewed and now it’s in good and clean condition so it motivates our students to study.”
Two mobile libraries expand the reach of the program to many other schools. Student Lisa Andriyani Putri thinks the library will help develop her mind and character.
“I’m very happy with this new library. It makes me want to keep studying, so I can be a good person in the future.”
“The World Is Just a Book Away” has built 49 libraries for Indonesia children and 26 libraries for their parents. The organization will launch a program in Mexico this year.