Singapore-Indonesia Collaborative Effort To Bring The Joy Of Cross-Cultural Learning To Over 5,000 Students Annually In Yogyakarta

Singapore International Foundation launches ‘Words on Wheels’ in Yogyakarta, a signature programme to promote reading and learning among youth in local communities via a mobile library.

Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 13 November 2017 – The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) has partnered with the Provincial Government Board of Library and Archives (BPAD DIY) of the Special Region of Yogyakarta, to bring the SIF’s Words on Wheels (WoW) mobile library to over 5,000 students annually in Yogyakarta over the next three years. The programme will also enable Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) to introduce interactive learning tools for the children, as well as training for the BPAD DIY staff and librarians.

WoW, an SIF signature programme was first launched in 2011 and has been implemented across Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Jaffna in Sri Lanka, and Bandung in Indonesia, impacting a combined total of over 40,000 children. WoW Yogyakarta will build on the success of the programme’s first run in Indonesia, which benefitted close to 13,000 Bandung students from 15 schools who loaned over 5,400 books from the van at the culmination of the project.

For the next three years, WoW Yogyakarta will bring free access to English and Bahasa educational materials, IT resources and learning facilities to 10 schools in Yogyakarta four times a week. More than 150 Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) will undertake monthly trips over three years to conduct English language and IT activities aimed at cultivating the students’ interest in reading and learning, while facilitating cross-cultural exchanges for the participating students.

In addition, specialist volunteers from the National Library Board, Singapore will conduct training workshops for 30 BPAD DIY staff and local librarians to build their capacities in library management. These trainees are in turn expected to share their knowledge and skills with their Indonesian peers, equipping more local library professionals to bring enhanced library services to engage with a greater number of library visitors in the future.

The project was officially launched by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore Minister for Communications and Information, and Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta. Other Singapore and Indonesian partners and dignitaries in attendance included Associate Professor Peter Pang, Governor, SIF and Mr Budi Wibowo, Head of the Board of Library and Archives of Yogyakarta.

“By coming together to share resources and expertise to solve common challenges, we can achieve greater impact. Through this project, the SIF connects multi-sector partners and like-minded individuals, enabling the joy of reading and lifelong learning to reach the schools of Yogyakarta. It also connects the Yogyakarta children to a wider world outside of their immediate environment. This project exemplifies the commitment of both Singaporeans and Indonesians to work together in improving lives; a testament to the spirit of gotong royong between our peoples,” said Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director, SIF.

“We welcome this partnership with the SIF as the Board of Library and Archives of Yogyakarta is always looking at strengthening our approaches on getting our children interested in reading and experiencing new ways of accessing knowledge. Our library management professionals will also benefit from this project through the exchange of best practices in library management and growth of their professional networks with their counterparts in Singapore. Our cooperation will certainly enable us to engage schools as part of the implementation of the nationwide School Literacy Movement by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The movement aims to develop students to become lifelong learners,” said Mr Budi Wibowo, Head of the Board of Library and Archives of Yogyakarta.

2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the SIF’s efforts in providing meaningful ways for the people of Singapore and Indonesia to come together to build mutual understanding and trust through a wide range of collaborations at the people-to-people level. The SIF’s work in Indonesia began in 1992 primarily in the areas of healthcare and education capacity building projects, and in social entrepreneurship. The SIF has also hosted Indonesian government officials, students and journalists in Singapore for exchange and visit programmes. 



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