Youths Give Up Easy Lives to Teach Across Indonesia
For the third time in a year, a group of young Indonesians will leave behind their cushy lives to spend a year teaching in remote and isolated areas across the archipelago.
The 47 volunteers from various disciplines, the third batch supported by the Indonesia Teaching Foundation (GIM), were officially seen off by Vice President Boediono at his office on Tuesday.
The volunteers were selected from among 5,266 applicants and included fresh graduates from universities at home and overseas as well as some already with work experience at national or multinational companies.
Dhini Hidayati, for example, is leaving behind a job with a bank in Jakarta to join the GIM program in order to “repay her debt” to society.
“I had an inexpensive education at UI [University of Indonesia] and I feel I owe [the nation] something because of that. Now, I want to pay my dues back by involving myself in society,” Dhini said.
She will be deployed to Bengkalis district in Riau. Although her parents were initially opposed to the plan, she said they had finally come to accept it.
Wilibrodus Marianus will also teach in Bengkalis, but in a separate location. Wilibrodus, a reporter from a private television station who hails from East Nusa Tenggara, will teach children of the Anak Dalam nomadic Sumatran forest tribe, most of whom cannot read or write.
Wilibrodus said that teaching the less fortunate in isolated areas had long been his dream.
“I sense a calling. I do not have the appropriate resources and therefore I want to first learn through this program. With the GIM, we can help people with the skills that we have,” Wilibrodus said.
The third batch will be deployed in five districts — Bengkalis, Tulang Bawang in Lampung, Paser in East Kalimantan, Majene in West Sulawesi and South Halmahera in North Maluku.
GIM initiator Anies Baswedan, who is also the rector of Paramadina University, said he hoped the program would provide the means to produce youth with not only the potential to become world-class leaders but also a strong grassroots mentality and a deep understanding of the needs of the many peoples spread across the Indonesian archipelago.
“It should not be believed that developing education is only the duty of the state. Education should involve everyone because educating others is the duty of every educated individual,” Anies said.
Boediono, who said he was touched by what these young people were doing, called on the government to support their efforts.
“I ask that the bureaucracy do not intervene, otherwise it would only get chaotic. It is better that we leave it to GIM or the other groups that are sprouting. What we can do is offer support where needed, rather than intervene,” Boediono said.
Under the GIM program, 124 volunteer teachers have been sent to teach in 117 villages in 14 districts in 14 provinces in the program’s first year.