Making a Difference Step by Step in the Lives of Jakarta’s Slum Children

Why do slum children quit school early and become unemployable misfits?

Underprivileged children are not confident in their abilities and they struggle a lot in classrooms. This is because they receive little support with their education from their parents who are not educated and not able to pay tuition fees. These children are particularly handicapped by the inability to express themselves and they struggle with abstract thinking. Therefore, there are many dropouts in the slums who become the so called “social dynamites”. Tensions and high rates of crime are prevalent among the poorly educated youths.

I believe in the Kenyan proverb that “education, a burning torch, sheds away the darkness of ignorance”. These communities desperately need good education. The schools they attend are often of the poor quality, so we need social projects that share additional knowledge to them. WOMBAT (Working to Meet a Better Education), a volunteering program at Binus International University, teaches English and Math to underprivileged children in shanty areas.

Through knowledge sharing, you become a part of the people’s lives and their memories. This is why I joined WOMBAT. With the help of WOMBAT, children have not only resumed school, but also started excelling in school. “There is not a day when I don’t attend your class, it is fun and make me proud to know how to speak English”, says one of the students. The impact WOMBAT intervention has had on the lives of these students is two-fold. First, we expose them to a world that they would otherwise not have access to. Second, the program shares the knowledge and motivation needed to complete education.

Witnessing the change in these children is reassuring. Small steps matter. We should all make sure to make even if just a small difference every day. My way to do it is to be a member of WOMBAT.

Ruwaida Mohamed Majid (BI International Business, Int'l Student, Kenya)