Yogyakarta, Indonesia was hit by a devastating earthquake on May 27, 2006. Striking at 5:54am, many families were caught off guard by the magnitude 6.2 tectonic quake just as they were waking up for their morning chores. The effect was devastating: nearly 6,000 deaths, 36,000 injuries, 135,000 houses damaged and an estimated 1.5 million left homeless. During that time, I worked closely with the arts collective Taring Padi (who also lost their home) to deliver goods to families in need and raise funding from outside sources. In August 2006, we organized a series of 8-week workshops through schools in villages that were badly damaged, using art and education as a way to help relieve the trauma experienced by the young children whose lives were also affected. Each workshop ended in a celebratory parade around the village, and scholarship funds were given to selected families to help keep their children in school.
The Taring Padi Children’s Library (‘Omah Buku Taring Padi’) was established by Taring Padi near the end of 2007, following their purchase of land after losing their previous home in the earthquake. From 2007-2009 I was actively involved with the activities in the library, coordinating a weekly children’s creative English class, organizing and cataloguing books, and acting as liaison between Taring Padi and a school community in Seattle, Washington, who donated used children’s books and money for the development of the library. The library continues to be active to this day.
For more information about Taring Padi, visit http://taringpadi.com/.