The Pelita Hati Community Reading Park (Taman Bacaan Masyarakat, or TBM) was inaugurated on 28 January 2018. The TBM is located on a former quarry (small port). Before there was a wooden bridge that connected Tanjung Selor and Buluh Perindu village, the locals used boats (ketinting) to get in and out of the hamlet. Since the building of the wooden bridge, residents have been able to use motorbikes and to walk in and out of the hamlet. Since the quarry was no longer frequently used, the place was converted into a TBM.
Establishing the TBM was initiated from a report by the Principal of SDN 013 Buluh Perindu state elementary school stating that our children’s reading skills were low. We are very aware that children need reading skills in order to learn. If they are not skilled at reading, it will be difficult for them to understand any subject.
After receiving the report, we immediately coordinated with the Principal of SDN 013 state elementary school, the head of the hamlet, and the community. From there, we agreed to use the quarry as a TBM. As a first step, SDN 013 lent books to the TBM. These books were set up in the quarry in the evening so that children could come and read.
When we first opened the TBM, procuring a selection of books was a big challenge. Most of the books in the TBM were not story books for early graders. Over time, we received a lot of book donations. Slowly, our storybook collection began to grow. Many parties donated books to us, including the North Kalimantan Reading Mother (Bunda Baca Kaltara), Hj. Irianto Lambrie, Regent of Bulungan Sudjati, University of Kaltara (Universitas Kaltara, or Unikal), Lurah Office, Subdistrict Office, INOVASI, and many others.
There are four activities carried out at the TBM: reading activities, additional lessons, storytelling and book donation, and service for slow-reading children. Reading activities are carried out on Saturdays and Sundays, when the TBM is open. This activity is carried out by all residents without exception. Additional lessons are given by Student Executive Board (Badan Eksekutif Mahasiswa, or BEM), which consists of volunteers from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Kaltara and is a part of their community service. Additional lessons are conducted twice a week for mathematics and Indonesian.
Apart from volunteers from the University of Kaltara, many volunteers from Bulungan and Tarakan also visit the TBM. They assist the children by reading story books and participating in some storytelling. Along with the increase in visitors, the TBM has received several book donations from institutions and individuals.
The latest activity at the TBM is assisting children who are slow at reading. These children are students from SDN 013 Buluh Perindu. One of the slow-reading students is eight-year-old Nuraini. Nuraini could not read, thus she could not follow her lessons. Teachers often called her ‘Onion Kid’, which is a term for a child who is considered to be ‘the least’. Nuraini’s mother, Siti Nurbaya, is speech impaired. Siti was frustrated because she couldn’t help Nuraini learn how to read.
As a single parent, Siti was very concerned about Nuraini having to repeat her class because she was unable to read. Thanks to the collaboration between SDN 013 Buluh Perindu and TBM Pelita Hati, Nuraini received additional reading services, both in the morning at school and in the evening at the TBM. Now Nuraini can read and will be able to transition to a higher class. This is good news for Nuraini’s mother as well. Now her daughter can learn and reach for her dreams.