Hey! I’m Simon from Germany and 18 years old. I just graduated from high school this summer and I am now a volunteer for Taman Bacaan Pelangi. Going straight to university was no real option for me so I decided to do something important for the society and improve myself by learning a new language and about a new culture.

TBP gives me this great opportunity and I am very thankful to be a part of this amazing project. I just love TBPs values and the idea it stands for: Developing a town or a district by providing kids access to books and building a new generation, which can be the key for a sustainable and positive change.

Being a volunteer for TBP changed my life completely.I’m living with a different family, in a different country and I am surrounded by a new culture. My home for the upcoming months is Roe, a small village in the mountains of the East-Indonesian Island Flores. Life is simple here, because there is no electricity and quiet no infrastructure at all. All you can find here are some small kiosks, a primary and middle school and the Taman BacaanPelangi Library.

The library is next to the house of my host family, as you can guess, my way to work is not far. Due to my stay here, kids can come every day to read and there will be some fixed programs in the future, like a story telling lesson for the youngest children. The goal of TBP activities here is simple: make the kids fall in love with reading and encourage them to dream big.

At this point, one goal is almost reached, because especially the kids from the primary school love to read. I do not really have to encourage them to read a book, they do by themselves. I’m just providing the surroundings and offer some activities in addition to reading. For example there is now a letter-exchange with kids from Rinca Island, where is also a TBP library. This should widen their horizon since many kids haven’t been out of Roe their whole life.

Besides working in the library, I go to school every day. Not as a student, but as a teacher for English. I am the only English teacher in the primary school and have two classes each day. Teaching the classes in the higher grades is easier than teaching in the first or second grade, because the younger kids can hardly write and read. That’s why it’s difficult to teach them a second language this early, but I’m trying my best.

On the other hand, you can see first efforts of Lukas, who was the first volunteer in Roe, and my work with the older children. Not only that they can read and write some words and phrases in English, they can communicate with foreigners. Tourists are rare in Roe but the small number of tourists, who visit the school, are a nice test for the kids to use their English skills outside from class.

What is most surprising for me is the excitement of the children going to school, learning and reading the library. They may have little money and little material, but they have this special kind of spirit. They enjoy everything they do and moreover, they do it high passionately.

To put it in a nutshell, I am happy to be a volunteer for Taman Bacaan Pelangi and enjoy to work with the kids every day. I hope there are many more great experiences to come and I will definitely share them with you!