I have just visited a school managed by my mom’s friend, Ibu Su’dan. She and her late husband established the school in 1980 under the name Ittiqon Foundation for needy children in North Jakarta.
They started with less than 10 students in old wooden house. They literally had to visit the houses in surrounding area and asked parents to let their children go to school. “What’s the use, they will end up being a garbage collector, like me,” they said.
Twenty seven years have passed (My God, twenty seven years!). Now 800 elementary and junior high school students go to that school. For free. Some students who want to pay are a allowed to pay at will. Some students actually save their money to pay for the school as best as they can.
Forty-two amazing noble people teach in the school, with ‘salary’ way below the minimum regional wage. They even cook for the students, if need be. The head of the school once stated that they were free to leave if they wanted to look for better job, but they said they liked it there.
On rare occasions, the students receive milk, rice or even cheese bread. Ibu Sudan said that some never had tasted cheese before and they threw it away because they said it was salty. The milk gave them indigestion at first because they were not used to it.
I was so proud to hear that a student from the school was in the top five best score for final exam among all students in North Jakarta.
Some graduates from the school receive diploma scholarship from UIN Syarif Hidayatullah. Upon receiving the diploma, they return to the school and teach. A full beautiful cycle has been accomplished.
Now the school has just finished building two more classes. They are about to receive support from an organization to build 15 more classes with . Yet there are a lot to be done.
Here’s my wish list:
- Weekly milk or some sort of nourishment.
- Regular health check up.
- Book or educational tool supplies.
- Better wage for the teachers.
- Occasional bonuses for the teachers.
- Better school building.
- And that these children will grow to be greater people, more than you or me.