My second home

By Randi Sanjaya

The many benefits of learning English at the English Zone

I officially became a member of the English Zone in February 2010. When I became an EZ member there were many English skills I still needed to improve. At the EZ I met with many young people from Indonesia and from other countries who loved to talk, and new friends who wanted to develop their English languge abilities. In the English Zone I meet many new people, have many close friends, and attend special events every month. Long story short, in this group we have evolved into friends, students, and siblings. I cannot say how much the EZ has shaped me into the person I am now, I am so grateful. It is a base camp where people with the motivation to learn English can gather.

Being able to speak English makes us stand out, in college, in seminars, in competitions, even in the workplace. Other opportunities surface when we have this skill. By speaking English we are able to access and understand information more quickly, communicate globally, and make friends. Many members have been able to travel to other countries because they enjoy speaking English and are able to do so well.

Personally, I was fortunate to be able to speak in English while I was in university. I could understand English books, I succeeded in campus competitions because of my English presentations, and I got an internship at one of the largest energy companies in the world.

The benefit that now makes me so grateful that I came to the English Zone was when I graduated from college and began looking for a job. Since my goal was to find a job in a multinational company, I applied to several. Being able to speak English in interviews was a great benefit, because it was a requirement for these positions. I passed screening interviews from two multinational companies and was able to move forward to the next selection process.

EZ is my second home, and it will always be home for me.

I want to be well

Ibu Haria’s story

My name is Ibu Haria. I am 39 years old and I live in the village of Teluk Kanidai. I suffered from cataracts starting in 2012. Because of my illness, I had trouble working and I was restricted in my everyday activities. The drop in my income significantly affected my family. Normally, I worked in a plantation and I tapped rubber trees, but it became too difficult.

Frightening stories

I had heard that cataracts can be fixed with an operation, but there were many terrible stories circulating from another village about the procedure. They said that your eyes would be removed from their sockets and that the “grey area” would be scraped away until it was gone. After this, the eye would be cleansed with water and then placed back in the socket. They even said that the eye would be totally soaked with water and scrubbed clean before being put back.

I heard stories like this very often and it traumatized me. I decided that I would rather not have this surgery since it made me very afraid. Just the thought of it gave me the shivers! It sounded horrible.

Beginning to feel safe

All of this changed when the team from YPP came to my house. They explained the way cataract surgery  actually works, and it was totally different from way I had been hearing! They reassured me that this was a minor, safe operation and that I did not need to be afraid. Finally, after quickly praying for God’s blessing, I agreed to be helped by YPP and undergo the operation.

Right now, thanks be to Allah, I am able to see clearly and go about my regular activities. I am able to work in my rubber plantation again and I help my husband support our family. Thank you Allah, and thank you YPP.

The best place to learn English

By Sugiono

Fifth semester student at Riau Islamic University

Learning English means having to speak

The English Zone is the best English Language program I have ever joined. Your ability to speak clearly in English is the main priority when learning in this program. It is emphasized that each member must have the ability to discuss common issues. Many people have the ability to read or write in English, but the clarity of their pronunciation is neglected. To address this problem, members are only allowed to speak English while on English Zone property. Inevitably, their English language skills grow over time.

The mentors and teachers in this place come directly from America, UK, Australia, Germany, and other countries so that the members learn how native speakers communicate in English. The native speakers also teach English pronunciation so that common pronunciation errors are addressed. Discussion groups are held every day focusing on topics about current events and culture. These discussions are interspersed with games, ice breakers, and other activities to encourage members in learning English.

Benefiting international and local communities.

Because of their English-speaking abilities, many English Zone members have joined student exchange programs with a variety of nations in Asia, Europe, America, and Australia. I myself joined a student exchange program in Japan, thanks to the English Zone program. I learned about this exchange program while at the English Zone, and was eventually accepted into the program based on the English skills I had developed as a result of being a member.

To  become a member you only need to offer a donation, and there are always discussion groups and pronunciation labs 4 days a week. Because of this, I am a faithful member. The more often I attend the English Zone, the more I practice and the more I improve. The English Zone is the best place to learn to speak English.

Are we learning today, Ma’am?

Dreams become possible in the village with a passion to learn

Teluk Kanidai is a village located on the outskirts of the city of Pekanbaru, in the Kampar District. In this community live dozens of children and teenagers who don’t understand the importance of education, or have the motivation to learn.

In the past, members of this community were not interested in education because they did not believe it could actually improve their lives. Sometimes parents even forbade their children from going to school. They believed it was better to work and to make money immediately than to go to school. In their experience, life only changed with hard work as laborers or plantation workers. Many families in this area still hold to this idea.

But things are beginning to change. For example, one child has a dream of becoming a police officer. He is incredibly motivated and passionate about learning. Every time we come to the village he runs to the teachers in excitement, asking “Are we learning today, Ma’am?” His mother supports him, too. She sits and waits for him to finish class and sometimes she even helps us.

After attending several sessions put on by YPP about motivating one’s children to study, parents in this village are more enthusiastic to send their children to school. YPP hopes to help these families further their understanding about education. Right now many are already showing more interest in their childrens’ education. They know that their children are the leaders of tomorrow and have the ability to move Teluk Kanidai towards a better future.