On 23-27 January 2018, UDE students, along with students from other faculties, joined the Camp Soft Skills program. This program was conducted in Bojong Koneng village, Sentul. The students stayed in the villagers’ houses built by Habitat, and for five days they took part in various activities arranged by the university, their study program, their own group and their own live-in family.
One of the UDE programs in the Camp Soft Skills was conducting a socialisation of literacy activities for local children. This program was held for two days on 25-26 January 2018 in the afternoon at 14:00-17:00. This program, which was funded by the Camp Soft Skills 2018 committee, was organised and carried out by UDE students and supervised by UDE lecturers. This program aimed to introduce the importance of reading habits to the local children, and to facilitate UDE students to practice both interpersonal skills and public speaking skills in informal setting.
In this program, UDE students, who stayed at RW 04-05 and RW 06, gathered the local children around their neighbouring areas in a spacious place nearby and grouped them into several smaller groups. After that, the students conducted a story-reading and storytelling activity to the local children. For the story sources, the students used various short stories and local folktales provided by the school library in RW 06. In addition, UDE 2016 students also read out their own children’s picture storybooks, which they wrote and illustrated as a class project last semester, to the local children in the village. After the story-reading and storytelling time, the students also took time to interact with the children by discussing the story content and by relating it to the children’s knowledge and experience. At the end of each story-reading and storytelling session, the students conducted a drawing activity with the children.
During the two-day program, there were about 80-100 local children gathered in both RW 04-05 and RW 06. They were all very enthusiastic to listen to the stories read and told by the students, and they enjoyed the drawing sessions at the end of each story-reading and storytelling activity as well. The local children commented that the program was very fun and interesting, and that they learned something new from the stories.
As for UDE students, they were happy that they could share knowledge and experience to the local children. Most importantly, they enjoyed the experience of empowering the children to be interested in reading stories and learning from them, and to believe in their dreams. Furthermore, through this program, unexpectedly the students also learned other soft skills, such as how to handle children, how to attract the audience’s attention throughout the story- reading and the storytelling, and how to interact personally with the children. All of this experience left a good impression on the students.
All in all, the program ran very well. The children enjoyed it very much that they did not want the program to end. Some of the children’s parents and guardians also approved of the program and shared that their children came home to them in the evening and told them stories they heard from the students and showed them the drawings they made together with the students. Since the children said that they did not get much encouragement from their school to develop their literacy skills, we feel it was truly rewarding to introduce them to some fun literacy activities through this program.