Peace Corps Community Project at 5: Why It Succeeded

Wilda’s Butterfly Books, or Kupu Kupu Buku Wilda, is everything Peace Corps wants a community project to be: Sustainable. Community-based. Empowering for women. And a true partnership in every sense of the word. In 2014, when I left, there were 3 students. Now, there are over 50, and that’s just because 50 is all Wilda can handle. She does everything herself, the teaching, scheduling, financing, outreach… everything. It’s her business, and it’s been her family’s main source of income for 5 years now.

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Wilda, co-founder of Wilda’s Butterfly Books, with a student.

But why? Why did this project succeed when so many others fail? I can think of one all-important reason: the idea came from Wilda. It wasn’t the superior, know-it-all, twenty something Peace Corps Volunteer’s idea. It was her dream and her passion to start her own Reading House to combat Indonesia’s literacy crisis, and when she told me about it I said I was here to help.

5-Year Anniversary
5-Year Anniversary celebration of Wilda’s Butterfly Books with cake and donuts… Go nuts!

Indonesia should be proud. The United States should be proud.

Thanks to Darien Book Aid, The International Book Project, Yayasan Pengembangan Perpustakaan Indonesia (YPPI), The U.S. Consulate, The University of Malang, and Education USA for donating books and resources to the project.

And of course to my Mom and Dad and Wilda’s family for helping make this dream come true.

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