SDK Gero is a school that partnered with the Rainbow Reading Garden in the second phase of 2023. Previously, the school failed to become a partner in 2022 due to severe damage to the library, requiring significant funding. The library building had no ceiling, no tiles, basic walls, and no paint at all. The school was hesitant because, at that time, the school principal was new. However, when given a second chance in 2023, SDK Gero expressed readiness to be a partner with the support of the Nggerodhere Village Head. The village head, Mr. Willem, had a dream: “I don’t want the school in this village to lag behind because our two neighboring schools, Dhereisa and Watugase, have already partnered with the Rainbow Reading Garden. We need to raise funds.” They eagerly welcomed assistance and worked to find solutions.
After the selection meeting and being declared eligible, the school proceeded with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Principal Mr. Victorius invited the village head, committee chair, village chief, and neighborhood chief to a meeting. Before the meeting, the Rainbow Reading Garden facilitator suggested considering alternatives: if the cost is too high, they could look for an empty room to convert into a library. “We have decided to accept this assistance. Whether we choose to stay in the old library building or move to a teacher’s room, there are consequences. Staying in the old library will require a large fund, but we won’t have to relocate. Moving to a teacher’s room may be cheaper, but we might have to move again,” reassured Principal Victorius to the meeting participants.
In this initial meeting, it wasn’t confirmed whether they would go for a heavy library renovation or opt to move to a teacher’s room. The participants were still undecided. The Rainbow Reading Garden facilitator met with the village head to provide a timeline for the participants to decide on the renovation and room selection. The second meeting decided to proceed with the extensive library renovation, despite the significant cost, as the building was designated for a library according to regulations. The Rainbow Reading Garden facilitator reminded everyone involved, including the school principal, teachers, builders, and villagers, of the timeline to find the best strategy to stay on schedule.
In the third meeting, the village head consulted with the school principal to find a solution for funding. The decision was to mobilize 277 families in 4 hamlets with 13 neighborhoods. Each family contributed Rp.100,000 in two stages: the first Rp.50,000 and the second Rp.50,000. The total funds raised were around 27 million. Mr. Willem, the village head, would mobilize the neighborhood heads to collect contributions every Wednesday and Saturday. “This is important for the next generation. So, we need to collect money quickly so that the library renovation can be implemented promptly. Our children and grandchildren will experience better education,” said Mr. Willem, encouraging his villagers.
Now, the library renovation is complete. Everyone participated in the renovation, from repairing the basic walls by all neighborhood heads and 13 neighborhood chiefs to installing a self-cut wooden frame ceiling from the school garden. The villagers installed the tiles, and the teachers painted every day, using a projector to color together, including the school principal and the Rainbow Reading Garden facilitator. The once severely damaged library now looks beautiful and colorful, ready to welcome enthusiastic children borrowing and reading books, as well as enjoying reading activities with the teachers! Congratulations to SDK Gero for overcoming challenges through teamwork!