Why Borneo, Indonesia?
Because no one is doing it right now.
Searching for “West Borneo charity” or “Borneo education charity” on Google would show results for Orangutan & environment charities. Sure, it is good to help the animals, but we should help the human kids too.
There are many of other foundation that focuses on education in Indonesia. However, every single one that I’ve checked focuses on Java and Bali - the most populous and famous places. I haven’t been able to find a single one that helps kids in Borneo.
I was born and raised in West Borneo (Kalimantan Barat), Indonesia. I moved elsewhere after finishing high school to pursue higher education.
I am fortunate to be able to do the things I do now. It was all thanks to the education that I received along the way. I’m very thankful for the opportunity that I had received so far.
Many other kids are smarter than me but didn’t have the resources to continue studying due to various reasons. Economic being a significant barrier.
If we can take away the most significant barrier, they will surprise us with how high they can achieve.
What about free public schooling?
The government provides free primary education, but the quality is abysmal.
Based on a conversation with Yayasan Usaba in Ketapang, they said that the government-sponsored public school has:
- 36% of teachers who skip coming to class but still got paid.
- Many principals only came twice to the school in a semester: at the beginning and end of the school semester.
- 50% of kids in second grade still couldn’t read or write.
- 20% of kids in sixth grade yet couldn’t read or write.
As a result, the kids will have to spend a long time playing catch up with their peers who got good quality education.
This data is limited to Ketapang and surrounding places, but the theme is clear. The public school’s quality is just awful.
What’s the finding so far?
High school in Pontianak
One of my friends is now working as a high-school teacher at my alma mater. She helped to contact the principal and administrator and produced a list of at-risk students.
Some of the situations include:
- Recently orphaned, living with 80yo grandfather.
- Father passed away, mom working as a household maid.
- Father works as a daily laborer.
- Mom and dad divorced. Now the kid lives with 70yo grandmother.
- Lots of stories about parents losing their income due to the COVID pandemic.
Those kids would lose their chance at getting a quality education without our help.
This school charges around IDR 660k (USD 46) per month per pupil.
Primary and middle school in Ketapang
I contacted my primary & middle school alma-mater, Yayasan Usaba.
They manage 13 schools ranging from primary to middle school, all located outside the city center of Ketapang. They serve 1,144 students and charge IDR 25-75k (USD 2-5) per month per pupil.
The typical students are children of local laborers who worked for palm oil plantations, miners, farmers, and fishers. Their livelihood had been decimated by deforestation, the COVID situation, and other climate-change related issues.
Other charitable organizations
I’ve known of three other organizations and in the process of establishing better communication and understanding.
- Love Borneo - They raise funds and goes to remote villages to provide books to needy kids.
- Yayasan Palung - They provide a college scholarship for students who want to give back to the Orang Utan conservation effort.
- Aku Belajar - Recruits volunteers to teach poor kids in remote villages. They raise money by selling used clothing.
How can we help the kids?
I see two ways to help.
- Get donors to sponsor individual kids to make sure they received adequate education until finishing college. The donor would get a regular update of the kid’s progress.
- Raise a big pool of money and donate to local charitable foundations to help alleviate the situation.
Getting started with sponsoring kids seems to be an excellent way to start. I have personally sponsored two kids for this semester and looking to support more.
My friends in Pontianak are currently helping to set up bank accounts, looking for potential at-risk kids, and surveying their situation to confirm that they needed help. All voluntarily.
Thanks, Carol and Budy!
How can YOU get involved?
There are two ways you can help.
- Become a donor and send money to help the kids. 100% of your donation would help the kids directly.
- Provide sweat capital. If you are passionate about helping kids, you can help us raise donations, create legal entities and accounts, spread the word, manage the logistics, etc.
This is my first try at starting a charity. I need all the help I can get!
Please get in touch, and I’ll be delighted to talk more about this.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.