Indonesia (MNN) — One way to help people out of poverty and the bonds of superstitious religions is education. That's the approach of the Sundanese Christian Fellowship, associated with Partners International.
The Sundanese people of Indonesia are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. Many live by a mix of Islam and ancient animistic and cultural beliefs that cause superstitious fear.
Domu, the SCF ministry leader, says they've built six new libraries this year–something the government cannot afford to do. There are as many as 900,000 schools that need repairs before the government can even think about additions such as a library.
Each library has about 1,000 books. They also include ten computers that have an internet connection and a guest house to host teams who come to assist in the literacy program. There is one copy machine that is used for internal use and for outside use as a means of providing some income for the library's activities.
In Indonesia, books are expensive and therefore nearly unattainable for most students. The libraries that SCF builds are invaluable resources. "We see that education is most important if we want to see the nation transformed, because as I told you, reading can open a window of knowledge," said Domu.
"Lack of reading leads to ignorance and ignorance is close to stupidity. And stupidity causes poverty. So we see that the library is one way to educate people, particularly the kids or the students in the nation," Domu added.
Domu believes that the lack of education in the region has bound many to their religious beliefs. That's why they offer literacy classes along with the books in the library. Domu said they met a witch doctor who opened up to them when they taught him how to read. "One day he asked for a Bible, and then finally, he can read. So this is one of the ways to open their eyes to the blindness," Domu said.
Ultimately, they hope that the relationships that are built will be a means for workers to share their faith with the community.
Domu said they will accept any used secular books that are donated for their libraries. They need textbooks, as well as fiction. Books can be sent directly to Indonesia. You can e-mail the organization for more information at [email protected].