The progress of a nation is largely determined by its people’s literacy skill. This is because literacy is integrated with all aspects of our daily activities. There are numeracy literacy, scientific literacy, financial literacy, digital literacy, religious literacy, cultural and civic literacy, and others. Not merely reading and writing activities, literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, calculate, and use printed and written materials related to various contexts.
A person with a high level of literacy will be able to process various information they get from various media, including books, the internet, television and radio. Furthermore, like puzzle pieces which are then collected and arranged into a whole and complete form, the person will be able to conclude information and then make decisions that are very important for his/her life.
Literacy skills are so important that they must be instilled into culture. And, this is not an easy thing. It will need a collaboration from all levels of society, starting from families, schools, communities, government and the private sector.
As an effort to create sustainable mining, PT Agincourt Resources (PTAR), as the operator of the Martabe gold mine, is always striving to make a positive contribution to the community around the mine. One of them is by developing children’s reading habits and interest.
PTAR established and developed a number of Children’s Reading Parks in the DAV area. One of them is the Lestari Children’s Reading Park (TBA) in Dusun IV Aek Sirara, Batangtoru District, South Tapanuli. TBA Lestari, which was founded in 2014, was transformed into a child-friendly learning environment and was specifically designed so that the children feel comfort when they are at the reading park. Apart from carrying out renovations, PTAR also donates reading books and puts two staff in shifts to facilitate the children while they are in the reading park.
Around 1,000 books consisting of fiction, novels, history and religious books are now available at TBA Lestari. Apart from that, there are also a number of teaching aids and educational games available. Mayangsari, one of the assistant staff who works at TBA Lestari, said that since the reading park was established, the Village IV Aek Sirara children’s passion for reading has increased. Children feel more at home in reading parks. They like to read and study in groups with their friends.
“Thank God, children are getting closer to books. They no longer enjoy playing online games or are obsessed with cell phones,” said Mayangsari. Mayangsari claims, apart from increasing knowledge, the existence of reading parks also shapes children’s characters to become more creative. She teaches children handicrafts and memorizes short verses of the Quran. “Currently, we are assisting 40 children,” explained Mayangsari.
Apart from TBA Lestari, PTAR also plans to renovate and expand the book collection in other TBAs, namely TBA Mawar in Napa Village, TBA Melati in Batuhula Village, TBA Rosela in Bandar Hapinis Village, TBA Cempaka in Hutaraja Village, TBA in Pardomuan Village, TBA Sahata Saoloan in Week 2 Village, as well as TBA in Wek 5 Village. PTAR plans to add around 60-70 books to each TBA.
PTAR Community Service Superintendent Yayan Nuriawan hopes that these Children’s Reading Parks can become places to develop children’s literacy culture; places for children to foster interest, love and enjoyment of reading. PTAR will also continue to motivate children to visit TBA by holding regular painting, coloring and storytelling competitions every week with exciting prizes.