The #100BOOKSproject is committed to improving education in remote and disadvantaged communities. We do this by starting libraries and providing books to schools in remote areas, and by helping to provide teachers with safe and comfortable housing so they will stay in these remote areas giving children consistent education. We currently have projects in Raja Ampat, West Papua and in Flores/Komodo.
People living in isolated island communities often don’t have access to many of the things we take for granted – infrastructure for sanitation and waste management, clean running water, electricity, health care and education. After visiting one such community in remote West Papua in 2015 I launched the 100BooksProject in answer to a teachers’ request.
“What do you need?” I asked, “How can I help you?”
“Books”. The answer was so simple. “It’s very difficult to teach the children to read and write without books”.
At that time there were no stories for the children to read, no resources for the teachers to work from. Most of the children used chalk to practice writing on top of their wooden desks instead of notebooks and pencils. It was such a humble request and seemed very easy to achieve, so I set to work, and I asked you all to help me.
I wanted to collect 100 books for that school.
Since that initial call for help I have received donations from all over the world. Together we have distributed almost 4000 teaching resources, children’s books, activity books and notebooks to 8 different schools, education programs and learning centers in remote Indonesia.
During this time I have had the opportunity to spend time with the teachers in these communities and I continue to ask the question – what do you need, how can I best help you? The answers are invariably the same – wall charts, boards + markers, activity books. The students need socks, underwear, shoelaces…
… and toothbrushes.
There is limited public health education in these isolated communities and as a result not much weight is given to hygiene, nutrition and preventative health measures. Often the teachers are inspired to drive change but it’s not unusual for one teacher to be responsible for 90 students raging from grades 1-6 for weeks at a time. Driving any kind of change is hard with those numbers. But with support, change is possible.
We are so excited to launch our new fundraising effort, the #200ToothbrushesProject.
Our goal is to collect enough toothbrushes for all the students in Selpele + Salio village schools. That’s 200 toothbrushes. We intend to work very closely with the teachers in these schools to ensure the toothbrushes are cared for and used properly. With the teachers ongoing support tooth brushing will become a routine part of the school day and the children will develop this important daily habit.
It is important for us to offer the students bamboo rather than plastic toothbrushes as a more sustainable option. Both villages lack the infrastructure for waste management and there is no collection service to these remote islands. Toothbrushes are a common item found on beach cleans ups around the world and we would like to avoid contributing to this if possible. Bamboo is a fast growing renewable resource, and at the end of the toothbrushes life we will be able to compost it or use it in the garden.
We have teamed up with Zero Waste Bali, a wonderful new store in Bali stocking lots of package free foods and sustainable grocery options. Zero Waste Bali have very generously offered to donate a toothbrush for every 2 toothbrushes bought in their stores for this project. You can purchase a toothbrush from any of their four locations – Kerobokan, Ubud, Canggu and Uluwatu. At the time of purchase just let the team know that you want to support the 200 Toothbrushes Project and they will keep your donated toothbrush aside for us.
If you’re not in Bali and would like to purchase a toothbrush for a student in one of the villages out here you can make your donation to our Go Fund Me page and we will make the purchase for you. Toothbrushes are AUD$4 each and you can make your donation HERE.
We are so excited to get this new initiative off the ground and hope to be able to deliver toothbrushes to the local children early next year.
Will you help us?
Ocean Pollution Awareness for Remote Indonesian Villages
Ocean Warriors Plastic in Paradise tells a story of siblings, Petrus and Novi. Born in a remote fishing village in the Indonesian Archipelago of Raja Ampat, Petrus and Novi grow up fishing from traditional wooden canoes and exploring near by islands and beaches. One such adventure takes the brother and sister duo, and their friend, Tateruga the Turtle, to a manta point where they free dive with the graceful creatures. When they realise Tateruga is missing they go in search for him only to find him choking on a plastic bag he mistakenly ingested while feeding on seagrass.
The children remove the debris from Tateruga's throat, saving his life. Needless to say, the incident leaves the children shaken and more aware than ever of the plastic rubbish that finds its way into the ocean.
The children make their way back to the beach, each lost in their own thoughts after the ordeal. Looking around them they see that the beach is covered in trash that has washed u pon the shore and they set about cleaning it up.
The story, written for Friendly Drifter, is the first in a series intended to educate local youth of the danger of Marine Pollution as well as providing them with achievable calls to action - in this case, cleaning the beach.
Providing educational materials to children in remote areas that are relevant to the communities in which they live was the major driving force behind writing the book. Getting these books to those kids is now our mission.
So far, through sponsorship, Friendly Drifter Foundation has distributed 250 Books to children in the remote villages of the Raja Ampat Archipelago. And now I want to bring the book to Flores/Komodo.
$5 will pay for a book to be printed - let's see if we can print 100!!!
As always, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for you kind donation and your willingness to share this campaign.
What we have achieved so far...
We have started library collections in 2 villages in Raja Ampat (Salio Village and Selpele Village ), and 2 villages in Flores (Bitu Village and Kukusan Village ). And we built a house for a teacher! Scroll through the updates to learn more! Or check out our progress on the website.
How do I spend you money?
OCEAN WARRIORS: Our current project is geared towards getting Ocean Warriors Plastic in Paradise to remote village schools. $5 will pay for a book to be printed.
LIBRARY BOOKS AND STATIONARY: $5-10 will buy a storybook, $30 will buy an encyclopedia and $40 will buy 50 notebooks and pencils for a classroom
TEACHER SUPPORT: $50 will buy 12 cans of fruit and vegetables, 100 teabags, a towel, a sarong and a years supply of toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap
* * * * *
This all started in Salio Village
Salio Village is a small community on an island in Western Waigeo, Raja Ampat. The primary industry on the island is fishing. The villagers fish and grow their own vegetables to feed themselves and to trade.
There are no roads on the island and no shops. The locals here are unfamiliar with many of the modern conveniences that we grew up with. Even things like running water and power are new developments on the island.
Homes are basic, and life is simple.
But it's not easy.
The children who grow up in Sileo village and other similar fishing communities in this area don't have the same educational opportunities that we take for granted in the western world. The school on the island is small and basic. It has several classrooms and a hard, dirt sporting field where the students can play volley ball or kick a soccer ball around during their break times. Beyond this, the facilities are extremely limited. One resource that they are severely lacking is books. As a result, the literacy rate on the island is very poor.
I want to get this school some books!
$500 will buy 100 books!!! more money means more books!!!
*** This project is ongoing and I'm always accepting donations of books. If you make a cash donation $5 will be a storybook, $30 will buy an encyclopedia and $40 will buy 50 notebooks and pencils for a classroom***
We built a house for a teacher
The new teachers house:
The teachers house, before:
The story behind this project:
On Monday we visited local village, Hamlet Kukusan.
Kukusan is a fairly typical Indonesian fishing village. Home to 70 families it is set on the foot of an island shaped like an anthill.
Fishing boats moor in the turquoise lagoon and children play on the jetty. Salted fish dries in the sun, and laundry hangs from ropes strung up between houses.
And on top of the hill, overlooking the ocean, is a small school.
50 students attend the elementary school on Kukusan, all of whom a taught by a single teacher who does her job for 300,000 Rp a month.
During my visit to the island Ibu Fitri showed me her home - a bamboo shack that is barely standing. The roof is not rainproof and the floor has so many holes in it that if you're not careful where you step you will fall right through it.
Her meals are provided in her contract, but all her other needs she must tend to herself. As you can imagine, this is not easy on 30 dollars a month.
She has no bed, no mattress. She has not crockery or cutlery. She has nothing.
I asked her if she could leave and she told me that more than 10 teachers had passed through the school in the past year, none of them staying because the conditions are so bed.
She has been there for 3 months. I imagine she will stay a while longer because the boat to her home town of Bima is too expensive for her to pay.
When I asked her what I could do to help her she said the children need books. She told me that the school is being eaten by termites and needs to be refurbished.
What about a mattress? I asked her. Or a stove or a plate?
She covered her face with her hijab and her eyes glassed over and then grabbed my arm because I think she wanted to hug me and didn't know how.
I am at home. It is pouring with rain right now. The water is running in rivulets in front of my house, digging deep creases into the sand. The sea is angry and wild. The wind is howling and the thunder is making my walls shake.
It is almost unbearable knowing that she is across the sea - on an island far from home, away from her family, away from her daughter, to give these local children an education and provide for her own child - with nowhere dry to sleep.
I am opening up the #100BOOKS project donations page hoping to get support to provide safe and comfortable housing for teachers in remote villages. Without teachers there is no education. If you would like to donate and want your donations to go towards a teacher instead of books, please write a comment with your donation.
*** we have finished the teachers house but it you would like to make a donation to go towards a support package for a teacher $50 will buy 12 cans of fruit and vegetables, 100 teabags, a towel, a sarong and a years supply of toothpaste, toothbrushes and soap***
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO READ ABOUT THE WORK WE ARE DOING IN INDONESIA. YOUR TIME IS VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.
- Bruce Bensetler
- Gavin Jones
- Elissa Van Bodegraven
- Emma Taylor