Entering the holy month of Ramadan 1439 Hijri, Muslims around the world were starting to fast during the day. However, fasting did not deter the children at TBI Alfred Russel Wallace to continue reading during the day. For the children in the Pematang Gadung Village, Matar Hilir Selatan District, Ketapang, West Kalimantan, the low energy due to fasting did not discourage their passion for reading. For them, reading is a habit that can be done anytime and anywhere when there is a will.
This Ramadan, apart from their usual reading activities the children at TBI Alfred Russel Wallace also had a breakfasting event attended by 15 children who lived around the TBI area. The event was fun and blissful. Even though the food served was simple, it helped the children to have more energy to read. The children truly enjoyed the breakfasting event, they laughed and played joyfully while waiting for the time to break the fast. A reading activity was also conducted during the event. According to the TBI library administrators, Ibu Meli and Ibu Siti Afuah, this was important to grow the children’s reading habit. “Even though the number of children is limited, we are still building the habit of reading persistently,” Siti said with a smile. It is not easy to build the reading habit in Pematang Gadung. With the modern era, advanced technology such as mobile phones and internet have been entering the village and competing with books indirectly. Siti and Meli have to work hard to develop the children’s reading interest. Various efforts have been made, including promotions to schools and interesting activities such as reading at the riverbank, fun games, and cooking with fruits.
Siti and Meli as TBI Alfred Russel Wallace staffs, along with an IAR staff named Nurdianti are growing the reading habit of the village. Siti, an alumnus of MAN 2 Sei Besar, has been motivating the children in the village to continue reading even amid her busy activity of managing her farm. Same goes for Meli. Together, they are working hand in hand to grow the country’s intelligent minds. (Tri Sujarwo).