We are delighted to share a blog written by Alicia Jackson, a student at British School Jakarta, Indonesia who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2018-19 Global Goals Competition.
Their project is among over 620 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community.
My experience has been eye-opening, rewarding and I have never been more grateful for my education, my family and my home.
Our group, Tiny School Movement, have identified that in our local community, of not only Jakarta but the area around it struggle to provide education, especially in a comfortable environment. Our big goal is to build part of a school for a community that is unable to do so on their own, but our main focus at the moment is helping SMP Diponegoro, an intermediate school located in Bintaro, for which a previous TSM group built part of the school. They are in need of some renovations and furniture and we are aiming to provide the funds for this so that all the children who go to SMP Diponegoro can have a comfortable education.
Personally, I used to go to school with children who came from very poor families and the only reason they could go to school was because it was free and transport to and from school was also free. It is easy to think that education is a given when you’re privileged to have grown up with it but it’s not that easy for everyone. By going to school and receiving an education, some of these children who I went to school with are now looking at universities and they’re avid sports players. Our project focuses on helping local schools that do not have the money for luxuries such as good lighting, a proper roof or even a building.
So far we have gotten in touch with a school called SMP Diponegoro and we are working towards helping them received equipment that they cannot afford. We also have plans to fix their roof which leaks every time it rains, which is nearly every day in Jakarta during wet season. They also lack lighting because of their electrical circuits and we are planning to fix this problem so that all the classrooms have sufficient lighting for the students when they are studying.
Being a part of a group like Tiny School Movement has taught me many things, like how communication can be difficult, especially if there is a language barrier. However I have found that my slight understanding of the Indonesian language has helped me if I have to communicate with others who speak only Indonesian, but I also feel a lot of gratitude towards staff at my school who have helped my group and I during our process of helping the school.
Sometimes it is easy for us to look at what a less fortunate school has and judge what it needs based on what we are lucky to have but I understand now that if we want to help SMP Diponegoro and other schools in our community, we need to communicate with them on what they know they need and not just what we think they need. Any renovation decisions will all be going through the school first to make sure that it is what they actually want and need.
When being a part of a project it is easy to pass the blame and something that I have learnt about myself is that if I don’t give myself a deadline for actions that need to be taken, I will not do it. I have had to make myself accountable for the things that needed to be done and I needed to check with the progress of the group to make sure that we are actually making progress.
Our biggest challenge at the moment is waiting for answers and communication because there are some things that we cannot do ourselves and by relying on others it has posed to be a challenge for us.
The Next Chapter
I would definitely recommend others to get involved in similar projects but if it is not possible to plan a renovation or build a school then you can help aid a school in smaller ways. By going to a school and asking if there is anything that you can do to help with is a great start. Some schools can’t afford stationary, shoe racks, bookshelves or maybe some of the children don’t have basic, humanitarian amenities such as shoes or clothes. You could set up a donation drive for the specific things that such schools need or if they need general help around the school you could help them for an hour or two on the weekends.
A little action can go a long way.
The 2018-19 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2019. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.