Anton Muhajir, Contributor, Denpasar | Tue, 11/11/2008 10:56 AM | Bali
With undisguised joy, Aryani Putri and her friends immersed themselves in the three boxes of books, donated through Bali Youth Corner and delivered by Putu Eka Dharmartha.
Putri, an eighth-grader at the state’s SMP 10 junior high school and her friends, Gede Santika and Mei Rismawati, carefully began cataloging the 250 books, which consisted of novels, comic books, school books and magazines.
They would be the latest addition to the public library run by the Naknik Community, the children’s learning community on the northern outskirts of Denpasar, of which Putri and her friends are members of.
The community was one of several that had received donated books from teenage learning community Bali Youth Corner.
The other recipients of the initiative were Kampung Siomay Children’s School, an education facility targeting the children of low-income street vendors in Renon; and Lifeskill School, which provides education to marginalized children at Kapten Japa square in Sanur.
“We deliberately focus this book program on alternative communities, which receive less attention from the general public,” Eka said late last week.
Eka and her friend Lindia Palupi are the founders of Bali Youth Corner. The book initiative was launched six months ago. Eka and Palupi were inspired by a similar program in Java.
“We learned about the program in Java and we thought that it would be wonderful to carry out a similar one here in Bali,” Eka said.
“Especially since I have so many used books. It is much better to donate them than to discard or burn them.”
Bali Youth Corner spreads its program information through blogs, mailing lists and flyers sent to the island’s numerous teen communities. Eka and Palupi asked these youth groups to take an active role in the program.
The responses Bali Youth Corner received were simply amazing.
“Our friends donated as many as 20 boxes of used books, but the most surprising thing was the number of books we received from their communities — it numbered in the thousands,” Eka said.
Initially, Bali Youth Corner distributed the books through the government’s education agency. However, the frustrating bureaucratic red tape forced the youth center to distribute the books on their own.
Bali Youth Corner was established on Aug. 1, 2007 as a medium through which the island’s youth groups could share information and carry out joint programs.
It has several main activities, including a blog campaign, a charity program and a radio program.
Their ongoing book donation program has touched the hearts of many teens on the island.
“We are very glad to receive these free books,” Putri said.
“Particularly when we found out that the donated books are school textbooks because these books are very expensive right now.”
The joyful responses Eka received from Naknik Community encouraged the youth activists to return there three days later — bringing with them another two boxes of books — of course!