Different – but gifted

Tapping young potential in the Creative Club

Kak, I’ll leave Septian with you okay? People say he’s autistic, but I’ve checked with a psychologist and he says he’s fine.” So it was when Septian first joined the Creative Club, brought by his mother.

From the outside Septian looks just like other kids, and mentally he is well developed; in fact he’s quite intelligent. But difficulties in communicating and expressing his feelings have made other kids reluctant to befriend him.

Now Septian has joined drawing lessons at the Creative Club in Kalianyar, West Jakarta. He’s happy to be in every class – he’s never late and he never misses a meeting.

“Oh yes, he likes to draw, Kak,” says his mother. “He always asked me to teach him, but, you know, I can’t draw. So I asked all over where I could find someone who could teach drawing. What do you know – I found it here, Sis. Praise God, Septian says he feels comfortable and likes it here.” We give thanks because children in the club have opened their hearts and accepted Septian. They often joke around, although sometimes Septian’s sensitive feelings make the other kids feel he’s a bit different.

Septian is representative of several children with special needs from low income families that YPP has come to know in the area. Working with special needs children calls for extra hard work, but YPP believes every child is God’s creation with the right to be loved, grow and become self reliant.


Kalianyar Community Day 2015

NEWS | Community Day 29 November 2015

Kalianyar Community Day is an annual event involving the wider Kalianyar community. On the afternoon of Sunday, 29 November 2105, YPP brought a focus on education assisted by some 20 volunteers, both from within and outside Kalianyar. Activities included colouring competitions in two categories; “keen observation” for grades 4-6; an educational campaign; garbage pickup involving local children; and, to close out the festivities, a men’s cooking competition.

Education opens doors

In the educational campaign, Mr Stuart shared that elementary school graduates earn less than junior secondary graduates, and senior high graduates earn less than those with a bachelor’s degree. This was to encourage local residents to understand the importance of formal education. YPP also shared about the benefits of acquiring informal education to equip themselves with necessary skills. The mother of Raja, the child who won first prize in the “keen observation” competition, commented, “Raja’s a smart kid, but he is shy in front of people. God willing I will do everything I can to put him through school.”

Caring for the environment, building community

YPP shared a second important lesson, love for a clean environment, by inviting the children as a group to pick up garbage the length of Kalianyar 8 Street to Kalianyar market. A local resident was impressed: “That’s excellent, teaching the kids to pick up garbage, so that they can learn about sanitation and not toss out their garbage carelessly.”

The fried rice cooking competition was a sensation! Usually it’s the women who cook, but this time we invited the men to show us what they could do. Several joined the competition to make the healthiest and tastiest fried rice. The final product was evaluated by Ibu Kafiah, chair of local neighbourhood 09: “The rice is delicious and the presentation is also good. Who would have guessed that the men could cook, too!”

bapak-bapak masak
anak-anak pungut sampah

Fried rice produced by the male chefs

Children picking up garbage on Kalianyar 8 Street

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.

“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.