For members of the Tanoto Scholars Association, giving back to their communities is of paramount importance. TSA members recently gathered in Medan, the capital of Indonesia’s North Sumatra Province, to meet with the head of the Tanoto Foundation’s scholarship program and discuss ways to accomplish this goal. After the meeting, the Tanoto scholars decided to take on the project of helping Indonesia’s children to enjoy reading.
The Tanoto Foundation, which was established by Sukanto Tanoto, one of Indonesia’s most successful entrepreneurs, works to fund numerous educational and social welfare initiatives throughout Indonesia, focusing on underserved communities. Through its support of scholarships that enable deserving but financially struggling young adults to pursue university and professional education, the foundation continues to make an impact on the future development of the country. Because Mr. Tanoto and his family place great value on learning, and on personal responsibility for contributing to the community, they encourage recipients of Tanoto scholarships to devote time to making the world a better place.
The current group of Tanoto Scholars could not, therefore, be any better equipped to share their own appreciation for reading and learning with younger students. For this particular project, the TSA members collected some 2,000 books in only about one month. Supported by a Tanoto Foundation-sponsored training on how to best engage children’s interest in reading, the scholars paid a visit to SD Budi Utama to work with the school’s third and fourth grade classes. They engaged the children by reading stories aloud, organizing a book-themed treasure hunt game, and helping children draw pictures related to their favorite characters in the stories.
The Tanoto Scholars’ efforts met with a warm reception from the students. The scholars hope that by making such a meaningful personal connection with the children, they have fostered what will become a lifelong love of reading.
Education experts worldwide support this belief. When caring adults share books with children in fun, creative ways, they encourage the children’s interest in independent reading. In addition, a wide range of studies have found that positive adult role models who love reading can play a major role in transforming a child into a lifelong reader.