A Community Library for PERKAYA Kids

by Soon Kit

For many kids, books line floor to ceiling bookcases or are piled high in their study room. But for many other underprivileged children, books are luxury items that cost more than it does to feed their whole family for a day. Children from PERKAYA are mostly from poor and broken families, and some are without a recognized national identity. Lacking different types of basic supports in life, for these children books are going to be pretty low down the list of the things they need to get by in their daily lives.

PERKAYA, an organization based in Kota Bharu, has a mission to provide a safe space for their students to learn and progress in their educational path. However, with PERKAYA on a limited budget, balanced to the penny, the school is unable to factor in money for a library and books.

Well aware of the financial hurdles faced by PERKAYA, we visited the school and decided to build a community library for them. Our sponsored items include 300 donated books from the public, 3 bean bags, a carpet, and 2 bookshelves. This initiative is to cultivate reading culture among these students through the creation of sustainable and comfortable learning environment. Promoting and supporting early literacy has long been a key feature of the early-years practice for a lifelong love of reading.

The highlight behind the cause: We have been travelling extensively throughout the Orang Asli communities and rural areas. Observing these children in communities' lack of the most basic educational resources. Orang Asli youth are offered only a few opportunities to have a proper education. We understand the importance of libraries for community development and the need for their long-term economic sustainability. Many remain living in absolute poverty, building a culture of literacy can be a critical challenge. We hope that our effort in setting up a community library and a more positive learning space allow them to share reading resources and knowledge. This can create greater impact towards transforming community culture in the long run.