23 October 2016. The rain washed out almost all area in Jakarta. It was not that heavy but it was powerful enough to make people snuggled, tucked under the blanket again and continuing their sweet dream on the chilly Sunday.
The frosty air on the holiday which made many people felt reluctant to move out of their bed did not affect the spirit of Taman Baca Inovator’s (TBI) team along with the volunteers who join in the WhatsApp group ‘Relawan Kece CFD’–Cool CFD Volunteers- to keep initiating the ‘Let’s Read’ campaign at the Car Free Day (CFD) event in Jalan Sudirman. Since the time hit 05.30 am, the WA group had been bustling with the volunteers’ chat talking about the weather with the cloud hovering above all area in the Capital City. Yet, the TBI team and the volunteers kept going to Jalan Sudirman either by private transportation, public transportation, or the commuter line (KRL).
This is the first time for TBI foundation to conduct the ‘Let’s Read’ campaign at the CFD event. After taking care of the licensing process in the Department of Transportation for around 3 hours, the ‘Let’s Read’ campaign at the CFD finally started. At around 07.00am, the groups—both from the TBI and the volunteers— started to come. By taking one of the spots that were not that far away from Sudriman Station, the campaign team spread a carpet to display around 30 exemplars of books brought from the TBI office. Around 95 percent of them were children book, and the rest of them were cooking instruction books. The volunteers who came also brought some books to be exchanged with a volunteer T-shirt from the TBI. Additionally, besides becoming one type of donation, those books were expected to be able to encourage the feel of owning the movement / ‘Let’s Read’ campaign within the heart and soul of the volunteers. Thus, the ‘Let’s Read’ campaign does not only belong to the TBI but also belongs to everyone who wants to be involved in it as the form of their responsibility to improve the literacy level and reading interest which is still considerably low in this country.
In fact, asking the people to stop by and read in the CFD area was not an easy thing to do. There were some things which became the challenge. Some parents even avoided them and dragged their children away when the team and the volunteers asked their children to read. It is possible that some people thought that ‘Let’s Read’ campaign were just a group of people who were selling books, or maybe the parents did not yet have the awareness to support their children’s interest in reading. Not few of them did come, though—most of them were teenagers and young adults— just for taking some selfie gimmick without sparing just a little of their time to read. However, among the people who passed by and were busy with their selfie gimmick, the team & volunteers still found some children who were very enthusiastic to come and read without caring about the bustling of the crowd surrounding them.
A little girl wearing a black and white striped top, a pink skirt, and a pair of pink rollerblade came with her mother in between her rollerblading fun. After reading for a while, she returned to roll around on her rollerblade. But after a while, she came back to read some more books, and then played again, and came back again for the third time. While the little girl reading the story books, the mother who took her around also read along with her. She started with reading cooking books, but then she changed to read children reading books.
Besides the girl with the black and white striped top,a pink skirt, and pink rollerblade, three little girls wearing hijab also came to read.
Not only that, there were also three brothers and sisters who came and read for quite a long time. Bening—a 4 year-old-girl— together with her older brother in grade 5, seemed to enjoy engaging with an activity book. Oftentimes, they’d laugh happily when they’ve managed to finish an activity in the book. Whereas Bening’s older sister, Laila who is still at grade 3 of Elementary school, seemed so serious reading a book.
The happy smile and enthusiasm of the children who came to TBI’s “gelaran buku” becomes the source of spirit for the TBI team and the volunteers to keep campaigning for “Let’s Read for a better education in Indonesia!”