International Literacy Day, which is celebrated every September 8, was announced by UNESCO on November 17, 1965, as a reminder of the importance of literacy for every person, community and society. On this year’s International Literacy Day, Taman Baca Inovator (TBI) Foundation, together with Indoreadgram and Booktube Indonesia celebrated the day by setting up a reading campaign in public transportation. The campaigned was named KeREADta. Unlike the previous version of KeREADta conducted two years ago inside the Commuter Line (KRL) train, this year the activity was held inside the MRT train, a new mode of transportation recently inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Indonesia.
The campaign aimed to make reading a cultural lifestyle for urban communities. In 2018, the University of Kingston, London, stated in a research that Indonesian people spent 6 hours for reading per week. In the research, Indonesia was ranked sixteenth among 30 countries studied, above Germany, the United States, and Japan. Based on this fact, we believe that reading culture can be spread, and we initiated to start spreading it in public transportation.
The 2019 KeREADta was attended by 174 volunteers, including a number of people with disability who participated in the reading campaign. The activity was also attended by the Governor of DKI Jakarta who also read during the event and inaugurated the Ruang Baca Jakarta Jakarta program [lit. Jakarta Reading Room] in collaboration with the MRT. The event was closed by a talk show with a ‘Make Reading a Trend’ theme hosted by Tascha Hakim (News Presenter), with 4 speakers, namely Chiki Fawzi (Wardah Spokesperson), Stefani Bella (Author of ‘Elegi Renjana’), and Sophia Mega (Booktuber and author of ‘Loe Ngerti Siapa Gue’).
With the various events held during the campaign on the World Literacy Day, we certainly hope that the campaign will not be merely a euphoria, but can have an impact, especially on the development of reading interest in Indonesia. Hopefully, reading can become a lifestyle for people in Indonesia, especially Jakarta. (Nurkholis Makki)