Established by businessman and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, the Tanoto Foundation has assisted in numerous projects to strengthen Indonesia’s educational system. Thanks to the Tanoto family’s support, schools have received vital renovations and repairs, teachers have learned new ways to get students excited about learning, and young men and women from low-income families have been able to realize their dreams of attending a university.
For four years now, the foundation has focused part of its work on brightening the future for students and teachers in West Tanjung Jabung Regency in Jambi Province. Partnering with schools in four sub-districts of the Tanjung Jabung Barat District, the foundation has sponsored activities that have improved the quality of the education available to students.
The foundation’s achievements have caught the attention of the local office charged with overseeing education in these remote sub-districts. This attention has also helped education officials focus on the many practical problems that schools and teachers struggle with in these underserved areas.
Yet thanks to efforts such as those supported through the Tanoto Foundation, Tanjung Jabung Barat has experienced some equally real successes. For example, two Tanoto partner schools, SDN 88/V Taman Raja and SDN 173/V Tanjung Benanak, turned a former warehouse building into a thriving, safe, and comfortable library and improved school quality to enhance learning and foster students’ love of reading.
No one should underestimate the importance of well-run school libraries to the educational development of students. According to the American Library Association, institutional support and funding for school libraries correlates with a rise in students’ reading achievement scores. Schools with high-quality libraries and library staff can better prepare students to become 21st century learners and leaders in a global economy, a factor that is particularly vital in a rapidly developing nation such as Indonesia.