Putting an end to traumatizingly bad education

“I’m so traumatized by English lessons.”

The statement came from 16 year old Cekly on the ride to my home from Yayasan Prima Unggul. I have only recently started teaching English on top of the marketing and website work I was already doing and was alarmed by what I had done that would make her feel that way.

It turned out that she was relating her past experiences with the language and was not referring to my class (phew!)

“I have been learning only the present simple tense since I was 10,” Cekly explained, “My teacher just gave us a long formula to follow and told us to make sentences. It was horrible and I couldn’t understand anything. He couldn’t even speak much English himself.”

While Cekly is making good progress and is highly motivated in her English class now, it made me think about the low quality education she received in the past. It was exactly the sort of problems Martin saw in the orphanages he managed or maybe even the one he grew up in.

He told me he wanted to start Yayasan Prima Unggul because the low quality education orphans receive at the orphanages simply means they can only get mediocre jobs when they enter the real world. In the end they are no richer than when they entered the orphanage. Worse, they have been so priviliged in the orphanages, receiving all their basic needs that they have no idea how to sustain themselves when they’re grown up.

Martin emphasized the need for qualified teachers and also entrepreneurship mainly because the latter empowered the students. It made them more than just powerless orphans – They have had the power to determine their own future.

Cekly is all smiles for the camera.

Cekly’s statement motivated me to work even harder because these students are so eager to learn, be it in the businesses they are currently managing within the orphanage school or their school work.

My worry is always about funding naturally. Can we afford good teachers? Can our small organization keep growing so our students can keep growing?

But it’s good to be positive. We are all working so hard and our student-run businesses can cover 20% of our operating costs.Yesterday, Cekly and Rona came back beaming with pride after selling all the Dawet Ireng (Indonesian dessert drink). Instead of choosing comfort and staying put at one place, they took the initiative to go around town to reach more people.  I’m really SUPER PROUD of all my students.

A short poem written by Cekly after minor editing (who is prone to a little melancholic melodrama):
S – Spill in my heart
A- Angry for two
D-souls dilute

To support our orphans’ future, do consider contributing via our website: Yayasan Prima Unggul. Remember, you don’t have to be rich to give just a little. 🙂

Yayasan Prima Unggul is a non-profit entrepreneurship high school for orphans. We hope to become self-sustainable in 5 years time. In the meantime,we are still 80% dependent on donations to keep growing. Can you help us?