When first assigned at SDI Mbay as a principal, Mrs Astuti was quite pessimistic. The school looks arid and dull with no trees or plants, and the walls were mostly painted white but covered with mud and dust. She also had to deal with the teachers who demonstrated disciplinary issues and disengagement with the school programs. While for the students, their achievement especially in literacy had been categorized as red which meant far below the national standard.

SDI Mbay’s library before the partnership with TBP

Fortunately, when TBP came to their school for school selection, Mrs Astuti was enthusiastic and viewed it as an opportunity to bring positive changes in the school. She proceeded with forming a special team for their child-friendly library room preparation. During the process, all teachers got involved and worked together from installing the carpet, moving the furniture in, leveling the books to creating the library rules. Through all workshops held by TBP, the teachers also learned how to be friendly with students and realized that the library could be the medium to improve their student literacy. Thus, after the library had been opened, the teachers willingly conducted reading activities as scheduled.

SDI Mbay’s library after the partnership with TBP

As a result, now the school is more colorful because their library has been painted with vibrant colors, and other walls have been color coordinated with the library. The library has always attracted the students to come. They love hanging out there reading or borrowing a book and drawing or coloring a picture, making the library so packed in every class recess. On Saturdays, they have small projects in groups based on their reading levels in relation to the books they read in the library. Surprisingly, their school won two awards during the last reading aloud competition – first winner of grade 4-6 category and runner up of teacher category.

SDI Mbay’s student, Cila, won a reading aloud competition in the district

All of these are the result of how Mrs Astuti has navigated the partnership offer as an opportunity for improvement. She said, “I used to teach in SDI Tonggurambang which partnered with TBP in 2022, and that’s why I knew how this partnership could bring about many positive impacts, especially on student literacy”.

SDI Mbay’s principal, Mrs Astuti with TBP staff during a school support visit