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R is for read

30 September 2018, Impact of Our Work

Thanks to generous supporters like you, we’re able to support children like five-year-old Lita, even in some of the most hard-to-reach places on earth

“Pagi, pagi! Good Morning,” rings through the air as the youngsters of Sumba, an island in the east of Indonesia, make their way to school and kindergarten for a day of learning. 

Despite being one of the least developed islands in the country, or perhaps because of it, children here are determined learners. And with their family, their community and supporters like you by their side, they’re working hard to change their futures with education. 

For around two years now, Save the Children has been running vital education programmes on the island, helping pre-school age children develop the foundations for school and improving the quality of learning for older children. 

Lita's story

“Ma-ta-ha-ri. Sin-ga. Pi-sang.” Sun. Lion. Banana. 

It’s 9.30am on a Tuesday and carefully, finger pointed, five-year-old Lita sounds out every syllable of the words in her book. It’s reading time at the Save the Children early learning centre in Loli Sub district, Sumba. 

Across the world, more than half of all three to six year olds like Lita, do not receive any kind of education prior to school – a statistic that we’re working hard to change. 

Every weekday during school term, Lita and dozens of other pre-schoolers visit the beautiful, two room centre. Their mornings are filled with reading, singing and play – structured but fun activities that build behavioural and learning foundations to prepare them for primary school. 

Arms wrapped around her best friend Oci, Lita says: “I like playing and reading with my best friend. I like the teachers here. My favourite song is about the mothers and our love for them.”
For Marini, Lita’s mother, the early learning centre is the first step in what she hopes will be a full journey through education and a better life for her daughter. 

“I went to senior high school and I would have liked to continue my studies but my parents could not pay for the fees. My only wish for my children is that they have a better life than me. I want them to have a future,” explains Marini. 

“Early childhood development is very important. Lita gets to do so many activities here – playing, drawing, singing, reading. Lita loves all of the books that are here. We don’t have many of the things at home that she would like, but here, she can come and use them and play.” 

And Lita is in expert teaching hands. We train and support early learning educators across the island so that they can provide the best lessons to challenge, develop and support the children in their care.
“Early childhood development sets the basic foundations for a child to carry on their education. I felt a calling to do this role, to help children in this village and the area. I like to be able to give them direction and to help them learn and grow,” says Senior Teacher Yohanna. 

For parents like Marini, Yohanna and the other teachers are helping families look forward to a future full of opportunity. Marini says, “It’s very important girls are educated. They can’t rely on men, we need them to be strong so that we can look after ourselves. Lita says she wants to be a doctor and also a teacher!” 

Images: Minzayar Oo/Save the Children 

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