Alor Children to Continue Study in Jakarta Against All Odds

Amidst economic difficulties, the families and the teachers in Timuabang prioritize the education of their children. They believe that education is essential for the betterment of their future. Now, dozens of students from Alor have been sent to Java to continue their study.

ACTNews, JAKARTA - Amin was amazed by the skyscrapers that he saw along the roads that he passed through in Jakarta. On Friday (7/26), Amin and other students from Alor who were accompanied by their teachers had the opportunity to visit some of the capital's icons. This was the first experience for Amin, a middle school-aged boy, to travel around the capital one night after he arrived in Jakarta. "They’re all beautiful," Amin said softly and shyly.

In between his busy schedule of taking part in the academic introduction at the Fath Institute, Jakarta, Amin, who recently graduated from the Private Islamic Elementary School (MIS) Timuabang, told Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) how proud he was to continue his study in the capital city. "I’m so glad to be able to go to school in Jakarta," he said briefly after finishing the Friday prayers at the Istiqlal Mosque.

Amin is one of three students of Kadir, a pioneer of Timuabang Islamic Elementary School, who have the opportunity to continue their study in Jakarta. There were 10 other students of Kadir’s who left for Bojonegoro, East Java to enter one of the Islamic Boarding Schools there. They are students from MIS Timuabang who are academically excellent and have a good spirit of learning who get a scholarship from ACT’s Global Zakat. These students were able to be sent all the way to Java thanks to the relentless belief and efforts of their teachers and parents who always prioritize their education amid economic constraints.

Kadir said that the children who go to Java are those from disadvantaged families in their villages. Their parents are mostly traditional fishermen. There are also those whose parents migrated to Batam, Riau Archipelago, or Malaysia to try their luck.

"Most of the people in Timuabang are underprivileged, they depend on sea products or migrate to other places for uncertain job oportunities," said Kadir while accompanying his students to visit Monas on Friday (7/26).

Although his students came from underprivileged families, Kadir admitted that their families strongly supported the education of their children. The parents never forced their children to help with their work. Instead, they encourage their children to continue studying at school. "The parents emphasized on the importance of their children’s education,” explained Kadir.

The students attending Kadir’s school are not asked to pay a single rupiah. They go to school for free. At the moment, there are five classrooms constructed by ACT. The school also has six teachers who educate dozens of students.

All teachers who teach from MIS Timuabang do not get a fixed salary. Every month, they only receive groceries from the donors. The school also receives IDR 22,000,000 of School Operational Funds (BOS) from the government. The teachers’ salary is taken from this funds.

Abdullah, one of MIS Timuabang’s teachers, also accompanied his students to Jakarta. Abdullah said that, to fulfill his family's daily needs, other teachers and he have to rely on other jobs. He chooses to be a fisherman.

Teachers who teach at MIS Timuabang are not all graduates of universities. Some of them simply took National High School Equivalency Examination. Nevertheless, their experience and hope to build the education for the children of Timuabang became their fuel. "Mr. Abdullah used to migrate to Batam He used to sport a long hair, but when I returned to Timuabang I approached him. There was a hidden enthusiasm in him to help me build a decent education in Timuabang, "said Kadir, chuckling as he recounted Abdullah's past.

Abdullah, who is also Kadir's brother-in-law, initially was opposed by his parents. Abdullah's parents did not support the existence of the school because it could financially support its teacher. However, Kadir's efforts to convince Abdullah and his parents, as well as other people who were skeptical about MIS Timuabang had come to fruition. Now, many of them support and are even involved in MIS Timuabang’s activities.

Although some teachers do not have a higher education background, many of the students are academically excellent. From 2011 to now, several of MIS Timuabang students have won medals at the national level Olympics. Amid the limitations of textbooks, educational facilities, and education aid, they have made several achievements.

"We learn any material we have such as Bobo Magazine. There are questions in these magazines from which these children can learn to prepare for the Science Olympiad," Kadir said when asked of how his students learned to prepare for the competition. []