What will happen if most children in Indonesia were illiterate?


Two days ago, I visited our library in Komodo Island, Flores. I brought two boxes of books to add to the collection at the library. As usual, the children were very excited. Their eyes were sparkling and they were so happy reading the books that I gave.

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Some of the children are still in at preschool age. So, understandable they were unable to read and were just busy looking at the colourful pictures.


One thing, however, that surprised me was the fact that there were several children in fourth, fifth and sixth grade who did not have the proper skill of reading for their level of education. Some didn’t know recognize the alphabet, while a few were just able to spell– as opposed to read – the books. There were also children in sixth grade who were not fluent in reading yet.

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If I tell my friends about this, I imagine that perhaps some of them would not be that surprise. “Easy, Mon. Many children in Indonesia are still illiterate. The ones you met in Komodo were just a small portion of them.,”
I imagined them saying.


As we celebrate the 70th Indonesia independence day this month, we may revisit our understanding of freedom. Maybe, there are still many children in Indonesia who have not enjoyed their freedom yet. They have not tasted the freedom of illiteracy just yet.


I hope together we can help the chidren to achieve their freedom: , the freedom of receiving the education they deserve, the freedom of studying, and the freedom of playing!


Monika Harahap
for the Rainbow Reading Gardens