From 23 april till the 3rd of may the initiators (Isabelle van Empel and Casper Goldman) and one of the board members (Sander Goldman) travelled to Indonesia. It has been an extraordinary and a very impressive journey. We have seen so many class differences, from the slums with poor children to a party of the Dutch embassy at the five-star Raffles hotel.
When we arrived on Sunday, we had an evening full of beautiful delicious food. The next day we planned to visit a school but the schedule was revised (since it was a national holiday) and we visited some of Jakarta’s highlights.
On Tuesday we visited a school (Sekolah Master Indonesia), it was the first school we saw but already such an impressive experience. The stories, the children, the place; everything was so impressive. The founder of this school told us about how this school was ment for the same kind of children as he had once been.
Wednesday we went to the Botanic Gardens of Bogor, where we met education specialists, this was pretty interesting. In the evening we met with a diplomat from the Dutch embassy, we had dinner at her house with her children, husband and aunt. We had some very helpful discussions but also had a great time playing with her children.
Thursday was the day we went to a slum for the first time. There was one boy, who showed us around and brought us to the place where we met the directors of their school (Himmata Foundation). They had all kind of plans such as opening a little mobile café and a car-wash to make some money, it was great to hear. That evening we had a party at the Raffles Hotel in celebration of the Dutch king where we promoted the foundation. The contrast between the slum and the hotel was extreme.
Friday we went to a Boarding school (Pesantren Budaya Indonesia): this has been one of the most interesting experiences. First we talked to a few representatives of the school. After that we did a Q&A with the children which was a lot of fun. We thanked them for their hospitality by facilitating a celebration meal on the birthday of our board member Sander Goldman. Today we still talk with a lot of them via Facebook messenger and WhatsApp to practice their English.
On Saturday we had a day off. On Sunday we went to a slum again and visited an informal school called Happy English. They have a class every two weeks. When we arrived we found out that we just missed the class. Eventually we had a tour through the slum which was very impressive, they showed us a HIV and aids prevention centre and a red light district.
On Monday we went to a kindergarten (Pangiuhan), the kindergarten had a very nice and calm atmosphere. On Tuesday we sadly had to leave Indonesia.
The journey confirmed our willingness to actually increase the quality of education. Right now we are facing the tough decision of whether we want to support one of these schools, and if we want to which school. The board and the initiators will briefly make a decision.