Delivering Rice to the Hinterland of Simalungun

ACT and MRI North Sumatera delivered hundreds of kilograms of rice to three Islamic boarding schools in Simalungun Regency on Sunday (12/22). The three Islamic Boarding Schools are located in remote locations and their conditions are quite bad.

Delivering Rice to the Hinterland of Simalungun' photo
Surya Agung students helping the ACT team to bring the rice from the truck to the school. (ACTNews/Ilham Moehammad)

ACTNews, SIMALUNGUN - Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) once again carried out a humanitarian action. Together with Masyarakat Relawan Indonesia North Sumatra, the team traveled for 200 kilometers from Medan to Simalungun Regency to deliver rice from the Rice for Indonesian Santri (BERISI) program on Sunday (12/22). Three boarding schools in Simalungun received rice from the BERISI program.

"Previously, we have assessed the conditions of the Islamic boarding schools in Simalungun, and we decided to give the rice aid to the three Islamic boarding schools considering the limited conditions of these schools,” said Sakti Wibowo from the ACT North Sumatra Team.

One of these schools was Surya Agung Islamic Boarding School located in a remote area in the middle of an oil palm plantation. The principal of the Surya Agung Islamic Boarding School, Ustaz Dadang, welcomed the team's arrival that day.

Surya Agung Islamic Boarding School can’t fulfill the students’ need for food. However, they are trying to be self-sufficient. They produce drinkable mineral water that they sell in the pesantren environment. In a day, they can produce up to 50 gallons of water.


Students preparing lunch at the pesantren's kitchen. (ACTNews/Ilham Moehammad)

They also have their own plantation on which they cultivate vegetable that they use also to feed the students. These efforts are not enough to help the pesantren to meet the food needs of the students. Moreover, the school does not force the students to pay the fees.

"Currently the boarding school does not impose fees on the students because even if we do force the students to pay the fees, many parents will ask for relief. On the other hand, there are also Santris whose parents are wealthy. They often pay more than what we require," explained Dadang.

Dadang is grateful that there are still many children who still want to learn at the pesantren even though the number of the students have rapidly decrease. At the beginning of this boarding school, the number of students could reach up to 300. Currently, they have only 80 students. However, Dadang hopes that Islamic boarding schools can attract more parents to send their children to study at the Islamic boarding school.

"We hope that this ACT visit will be able to increase the parents' interest to send their children to study at this Islamic boarding school. Despite the limitations and the remote environment in the middle of oil palm plantations, we are sure that the students will feel at home and enthusiastic to study here. This is because the quiet atmosphere can help them to learn and make it easier to memorize. Apart from that, here we will also teach the santri how to grow crops and raise livestock to improve their skills for the future," Dadang hoped.

In addition to Surya Agung Islamic Boarding School, ACT and MRI Team of North Sumatra also delivered rice assistance to the Daarut Tahfidz Islamic Boarding School, that teaches students to memorize the Quran, then Daarul Khoirot Islamic Boarding School. The conditions of these two pesantrens are similar to those of Surya Agung Islamic Boarding School. Sakti said that he will continue to motivate students in remote areas to continue to be enthusiastic in learning through the BERISI program.

"We hope that this program can continue and reach more Islamic boarding schools in North Sumatra, even throughout Indonesia. And, hopefully, the assistance from the BERISI program can increase the spirit of the students to continue to fight for Islam through education, "he hoped. []

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