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.

“When it rains outside, it rains inside”

When finances are tight, putting food on the table comes first and other expenses go on hold. And when things are tight for years on end, once sturdy houses can fall into perilous disrepair, with crumbling walls, gaping leaks, and structural decay threatening collapse.

So it was for three families in a Bekasi Regency village whom YPP knew through a work relationship. “When it rains outside, it also rains inside,” said Bapak Taqi, a father of five. Their neighbours across the way showed us the structural mayhem inflicted by termites.

In discussion with these families, the YPP team arranged for partial financing of home repair loans. Of the total amount available, half would be repayable in fortnightly installments, coinciding with their paydays, over a couple of years.

One of the conditions for receiving the loan was successful completion of three months of “savings” payments, in order to demonstrate their ability and commitment to making the repayments. All three families met these criteria, and the loan was released at the beginning of September 2013.

Each family decided what repairs were necessary, and within weeks all the renovations had been completed. The outcome has been overwhelmingly positive, with significant improvements to their homes being carried out efficiently and wisely.

One man dismantled his entire collapsing roof and erected a fresh, termite-free wood frame covered in durable roof-sheeting. Another thoughtfully decided to build one concrete-walled, waterproof room in the centre of his bamboo-walled house as the first part of the new home that he hopes he will eventually have.

The changes were dramatic, to our shared delight! All the more so as the months have passed: rainy seasons have brought heavy downpours and floods and the family with the new roof have stayed dry, while the family with the waterproof room have been able to take shelter with their small grandson from the knee-high floods.

One family sought supplementary loans from friends, which meant they were able to change bamboo matting for concrete breeze block walls for part of the kitchen, and replace the entranceway that was in dangerous condition. Their kitchen and bathroom still need work, but the rain doesn’t come in any more, and they are able to sleep in peace without fear of tiles falling on their heads. This is a big first step, and we hope they will do more when they can.

All the recipients of the loan have been diligent in making repayments, in one case exceeding what is required so that the loan can be repaid more quickly.