Last February 2019 we worked together with ten volunteers from eight of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nation) countries for Parents Engagement program in Ende, East Nusa Tenggara. These volunteers were selected by ASEAN Foundations which funded by Maybank Foundation. Rainbow Reading Gardens is one of four organizations in Indonesia which selected by the ASEAN Foundation to work with for two weeks volunteering pogram.

Ten of the volunteers were staying in Ende for two weeks to implement our parents engagement program. Their main activities was to conduct the Reading Aloud workshops for the parents of the first graders kids in four of our schools. The four schools are SDI Bhoanawa 1, SDI Bhoanawa 2, SDI Otombamba, and last but not least SDI Ndona 3.

The Parents Engagement program is one of our pilot project in this year. We are willing to expand our intervention not only at schools, but at home instead. Home is our first school. Hopefully, through this program, parents also believe that reading books to their kids at home will bring so much impact to their life.

After conducting the workshops, our volunteers visited the houses. A lot of inspiring and funny stories happened during the visit. The parents were enthusiastic with their new friends came to their house. They didn’t forget to prepare meals and beverages during conversation.

One thing that I captured during listening their experiences was language can be both a challenge but also a strength. Why a strength? Because through the language barrier, both parties were motivated to understand the implicit words, or may I say as the unspoken words, which came from each hearts which I believe that the only one that matters. Everything that comes from the heart.

Four months after the project, we were invited to present the activities, challenges, and lesson learned in front of Maybank Foundation and ASEAN Foundation executives. There were also other nine organizations from Malaysia, Cambodia, and of course Indonesia.

One of the questions which came from the Maybank Executive was “Do you think we should continue this project since the area (Ende) is the most remoted of all project site?”

Our volunteer, Syukri Jamil answered in confidence that “Many stop over during flights to Ende, helped us to build the bond with other vounteers. One of the way is telling our tragic love stories” 😀

Indeed, this project is worth to be continued. Isn’t it?

We thanked ASEAN Foundation for arranging the deployment of the volunteers to Ende. A lot of dramas came up during the way, but worth as the lessons learned to all of us. As an organization, we were honored to be chosen as one of the CSO to work with the volunteers. It means so much to us as an growing organization.

We also thanked our ten volunteers: Gift (Thailand), Sakilah & Asyraf (Malaysia), Regina (Singapore), Joy (Myanmar), Viet (Vietnam), Syukri (Brunei), Sivchuong & Chen (Cambodia) and last but not least Arthur (Philippines) for the excellent team working.

Two weeks together, forever friendship! ;>

Ende, July 21st