Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Place of Opportunity for Poor Children

After leaving the community living in the cemetery, we had lunch and headed over to a training center that covered a lot of educational areas. This center serves children from impoverished communities. 

Although the students come from families that are indeed poor, they still are expected to pay a fairly minimal amount (the equivalent of about US$5 per year) to attend classes. By expecting the families to contribute a bit toward their children’s education, it is likely that the parents and children both will place a higher value on attendance.

Young people who attend this center, outside of regular school time, have a chance to learn many things. English classes are in great demand. Our team got to teach in two of the classes while we were there. I got to teach the younger children. We had fun learning the names of different jobs...and then I took them on a "Bear Hunt". (If you work with kids, you probably know what I mean by that.) Great fun!

In addition to English classes, young people can learn other things such as computer, puppetry, hair dressing, traditional make-up for weddings, and various cultural dances. The students who learn hairdressing and make-up are then able to help others in the community when there is a need for salon services when a wedding is in the works. This provides a way for the center to reach out to the community.
One aspect of the center that really impressed me was the mobile library. A truck has been outfitted with book shelves on one side, and a mobile computer lab on the other. Workers from Pondok Kasih (House of Love), that operate the truck travel between impoverished communities in the area. Children can borrow books, use the computers, and even have a class held under a tarp extended from the side of the truck.  More on that later, as I got to witness one of those on Monday.

That first day in Surabaya was exhausting, but it was nothing compared to the schedule planned for on the following Monday.  

I didn't mind the exhaustion, though. Why not? It was worth it to see people at work who are passionate about reaching out to people God loves.


  1. I wonder what that $5 dollars represents to a yearly budget? As a public school teacher, I often wonder if we charged parents when there kids skip or fail classes, whether that would get them motivated. Although, true poverty, like they probably can witness overseas, is probably the only motivation these kids need. Education=opportunity to most of the world. Education=waste of time to many American kids.

    The mobile library is pretty neat.

    1. I'm just making a guess here, but I think it would represent about half a percent of the yearly income. Doesn't sound like much, but when these families already struggle just to feed themselves...and might have to live as squatters in a cemetery...that is pretty big. And yes, to most of the world, education = opportunity. It is good to see these kids taking advantage of the opportunity given.

      One thing I forgot to mention in the post. At least for now, with the current American Consul in Surabaya, if a student finishes the English program with highest marks, the Consul has promised to arrange for that student to be able to continue studies in America. I was happy to hear that.


Any thoughts on this post? I would love to hear from you.

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