By Elen Chandra, EBPP Volunteer
It was Monday, March 28th, at 5am in the morning when my best friend (Agnes) and two other friends (Angela and Ira) came on a journey with me for a visit to Desa Ban. All three of them used to work together at a startup in Jakarta and are very successful women. I had told them stories of my volunteer work as an English teacher and they were very eager to finally see everything first hand. At the end of a tiring teaching day, being an English teacher in Desa Ban had brought me joy and satisfaction from the students from the six different schools that EBPP supports. On this day, it would be a time to share this happiness with my friends.
It was still a normal volunteering day for me, so I had to go up to Darmaji School at 9am to teach the students there. Komang, the team leader of EBPP would go up with my friends at about noon, which is about the time I will be done teaching.When my friends were in Darmaji, they toured around the school and I introduced them to my students. My students were very shy, holding up papers to hide their faces when I started introducing them to my friends. Nonetheless, they were excited and curious at our guests. To make it more interactive, I decided to persuade my friends to teach some new vocabulary to the students.
After Darmaji, we went to Jatituhu School where the twelve students that got sponsored through EBPP’s Global Giving Crowdfunding in December 2015 were listening to inspiration talks from two of EBPP’s senior high school role models, Sudini from Pengalusan School and Sukerni from Cegi. In order to further motivate the students, Komang decided to invite my friend Agnes to share her success story. Agnes opened up her story by sharing her struggles living in a foreign country as a woman expatriate while pursuing a position where men are the dominant counterparts. Despite many challenges and roadblocks, Agnes was able to climb the corporate ladder and landed a managerial role at a big multi-national company. She shared the key to her success is persistence and a lot of hard work. Agnes hopes to inspire and motivate the students with her story. She believes that if the students are committed to learn and stay in school, they will equip themselves with knowledge that will not only help improve their day to day life but also take them far into the future.
The students’ faces lit up with inspiration. When asked by Komang if they got Agnes’s message, they exclaimed in confidence: “Yes! We aspire to be successful individuals and better the life of our family through our education for our future!” After Agnes’s speech, Sudini and Sukerni talked to my friends and said: “We want to be as independent and successful as you ladies. We are very motivated to persevere in our study for a better future for us and to inspire others in our village.”