Imagine growing up not knowing the joy of reading. Imagine living where there are no libraries and no bookstores, where the only books you ever see are textbooks and reading means one thing: schoolwork. This is the way it was for the children of the Poso district of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia—until last October. That’s when Sophia Mobile Library was launched, opening a window to a wider world for local kids.
My dream is to keep the library running and make sure that window stays open.
Located in a private house in the remote community of Tentena, Sophia Library holds some 750 volumes, mostly for children. During the week, youngsters from surrounding villages drop by to read, some walking several kilometers to get there.
But on most weekends, Sophia Library goes on the road. The books are loaded onto a rented van or boat and head for another village in the district. There the library sets up for the day, with volunteers teaching origami, reading stories to the smaller kids and showing children’s films.
Startup contributions from two dozen individuals allowed the project to purchase books and begin these visits. But each journey costs money, and funds are fast running out. A $5,000 grant would allow the library to make about 150 more trips, as well as replace worn books and purchase additional copies of popular titles.
Sophia Library has another function. In 1998-2005, Poso was racked by sectarian violence, leaving wounds that have yet to heal. When Sophia visits a village, it attracts children and parents from different, often hostile communities. By creating a neutral space where people with a history of antagonism can interact, the library also becomes an agent for peace and reconciliation.
Please help to keep Sophia Library rolling.
For more information, see http://www.sophialibrary.blogspot.jp.