Education is the key to environmental awareness, and language is the vehicle that endows us with the ability to learn and understand. Indonesia's ancient tradition of story-telling is slowly giving way to reading and a modern lifestyle that provides much less time for leisure activities and precious family time with our children.
Creating a story for children in three languages for Bali - a group of concerned individuals comprising a writer, illustrator, story-teller, architect, environmental activist and publisher Ė all came together to create the "Penyu dan Lumba-Lumba" (Turtle and Dolphin), each drawing upon their own particular skill in order to create a meaningful educational tool for the children of Bali.
"This is the first in a series of those books, telling the stories of birds, animals and children who are experiencing the life-threatening problems caused by plastic waste and rubbish which is dumped in the rivers and ends up in the sea on the island of Bali," says writer Maggie Dunkle.
The Clean Bali Series has as its mission to educate through having fun. As the children learn to deal with the rubbish they also discover their social responsibility. Together, they will be able to make a change.
Working with Balinese story-teller Made Taro, well known on the Island for his passion in keeping traditional children's games and story-telling alive, gave the team a special understanding of how children learn by playing together. Today's children are often solitary and lacking in social skills, their main source of out-of-school learning being television and video games, sometimes violent, and rarely educational.
Including beautiful full-page illustrations by Margiyono, the team has also included a board game at the back of the book (plus a separate game-board in a bag) together with a song composed by Komang Dhananjaya Wishnuputra that children can learn and supplement with addition verses of their own. These combined elements of creativity, playing and fun are what makes this first book in the series so very special.
Through a program of generous sponsorship that includes Metro Department Store and Cerebrofort Kalbe Farma, 3000 pre-purchased books will be given away free to local schools, with a focus on reaching those in coastal areas first, where environmental degradation due to rubbish is particularly serious. Another 2000 books will be distributed for sale in the bookshops of Bali, and the proceeds from these sales will go into funding future editions.
"Penyu dan Lumba-lumba" is destined to become a handy teaching tool. To ensure that teachers are able to make good use of this book in their classrooms, the Clean Bali Series team and the publisher, Saritaksu Editions are working with Yayasan Gelombang Udara Segar (GUS) - a local foundation to distribute the book to schools. The foundations ongoing environmental educational program in schools has already reached some 15,000 children in more than 200 schools.
For more information telephone Sarita Newson at Saritaksu Editions at ++62-(0)361-287816.
[ www.cleanbaliseries.org Website]
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