The Pearson Foundation and Books for Asia celebrate International Literacy Day by donating 5,000 books to Rainbow Reading Gardens in Indonesia

04 Sep 12

Eighty children from Rainbow Reading Gardens on the island of Flores received the books in a traditional ceremony hosted by Nila Tanzil, founder of Rainbow Reading Gardens

Indonesia, 4 September: On Saturday, the Pearson Foundation through its We Give Books campaign and The Asia Foundation through its Books for Asia programme celebrated International Literacy Day with an event to mark the donation of 5,000 books to Rainbow Reading Gardens on the beautiful Indonesian island of Flores. The event was hosted by Nila Tanzil, founder of Rainbow Reading Gardens with Michelle Lombard, President Emerging Markets, and Erman Rahman, representing Pearson Asia Pacific and the Asia Foundation respectively.

Eighty children from Rainbow Reading Gardens were on hand to accept the books, and were very excited about the new additions to the library at their after-school programme, which is held at the village's 'Campong To' cultural centre. The books will benefit more than 25 community-based reading programmes in Flores, where educational attainment levels are now lower than the average for Indonesia.

The event at Kampong Melo began with a traditional ceremony where the village elder Mr. Avent led a short ceremony. Visitors were given a piece of woven cloth, symbolising a blanket to 'cover us all as a new family,' and a white rooster as a symbol of shared sincerity and commitment to children's education. Traditional dances, remarks by Pearson and The Asia Foundation, and a ceremonial handing over of the books completed proceedings. The audience included parents and children from Kampong Melo and its neighbouring village, Kampong Ro'e, and also the head of the village cultural centre, Mr. Yoseph Ugis.

This event is part of a series being run by Books for Asia across Indonesia and the region to mark International Literacy Day. First celebrated in 1966, International Literacy Day aims to highlight the importance of literacy for all and its place at the heart of basic education.

Michelle Lombard, President Emerging Markets, Pearson Asia Pacific said, 'This event is a great celebration of the joy of reading. Books help children learn, they inspire, support development and change lives. The We Give Books programme offers free access to a huge digital library of great children's books. For each book read online, we donate a brand new book to a great literacy organisation like Books for Asia and Rainbow Reading Gardens.'

'Improved literacy can contribute to reducing poverty, improving health, advancing democracy, and promoting human rights and gender equality,'
said Erman Rahman of The Asia Foundation. 'Even small gains in literacy can have a great impact on Indonesian people's ability to participate in the democratic process, and make responsible and informed decisions.'

Nila Tanzil, Rainbow Reading Gardens, said, 'The Rainbow Reading Room is so thankful for this support from Pearson and The Asia Foundation. We hope this collaboration will continue, so that more children living in remote areas of Eastern Indonesia can enjoy quality reading materials.'


The event took place on the Island of Flores with eighty children from Rainbow Reading Gardens on hand to accept the books.


Nila Tanzil (top) and Michelle Lombard (bottom) reading with the children from Rainbow Reading Rooms


For more information, please contact Fiona Morgan +852 3181 0881

Notes for Editors

About We Give Books

We Give Books ( is a philanthropic programme from Penguin and the Pearson Foundation that helps children become lifelong readers and givers. Together, Penguin and the Pearson Foundation support literacy through programmes that engage entire communities. Working around the world through programmes like Booktime, We Give Books, and Jumpstart's Read for the Record, Penguin and the Pearson Foundation have touched millions of lives in thousands of communities. To learn more about the We Give Books programme, go to More information on the Pearson Foundation can be found at

About Pearson Asia Pacific

Pearson is the world's leading learning company. Our education business combines 150 years of experience in publishing with the latest learning technology and online support.

The Pearson Asia Pacific team works in over fourteen different countries and territories across the Asia Pacific region. We understand that everyone is unique and learns in their own way. To this end, Pearson Asia Pacific brings together the very best in content, curricula, assessment, training and information systems to make learning more effective and to support, motivate and inspire every educator and every learner.

To find out more about Pearson Asia Pacific, visit

About Books for Asia

Books for Asia is a programme of The Asia Foundation that reaches 9 million people a year through its donations of high-quality education material. In Indonesia alone, Books for Asia has delivered over 2.5 million brand new, high-quality English language books and contemporary academic journals to schools, higher education institutions, ministries and commissions, and professional and civic organisations since 1955. Recognising the broad and varying needs of the country, Books for Asia now annually supplies more than 35,000 books to the education sector in Indonesia, through to the tertiary level. Working with partners across the archipelago, the programme now reaches nearly all of Indonesia's 33 provinces. Over recent years, Books for Asia has focused on increasing its donation of children's books in Eastern Indonesia, where resources are limited and educational attainment levels are significantly lower than Java and Sumatra.

To find out more about The Asia Foundation's Books for Asia initiative, visit You can also learn more about how The Asia Foundation is impacting literacy in Indonesia, by visiting the National Literacy Day slideshow and The Asia Foundation's blog.

About Rainbow Reading Gardens

The Taman Bacaan Pelangi (Rainbow Reading Gardens), a non-profit social project created to establish children's libraries in remote areas of eastern Indonesia. This organisation aims to encourage and nurture children's interest in reading by providing access to good books. They believe this is critical for a child's education, and broadens their horizons and opportunities. To read more about this organisation, please go to their website.