Papua Children in Our Boarding School

This is a picture when my kids watched movie together in my house. What did we watch? We watched Mr. Bean movie :D
I work in a primary and secondary school in Timika, Papua where the students are local people (Papua origin). They are supported by a mining company CSR. What I learned first is : they are look alike, very similar to each other - from female to male students. Both have dark skin, curly hair, beautiful eyes and smile. As time goes by, I proudly can identify them by name now. There are two main groups between our children : teenager-to adult group and younger kids group. Let me share with you about their background based on my mere experience in our school.

In Papua, many local people children are late enrolling in primary school. Not forget to mention, many of them don't hold birth certificate. Many parents have no records when the children were born and they don't know how old their children are. So usually when a child enrolls in a primary school you will find a 10/11 years old child still in Grade 2/3. So what will you find in higher grade? Indeed you will find older student-Grade 6/7 but with appearance as 18/19 years old student. Another problem is not many parents think education is important for their children. Even though public school is free in Indonesia, parents are busy with their daily life : food gathering, hunting animals, or go fishing. Sometimes parent (father) goes into war and if his not lucky enough, he is dead and make his children turns into orphans. That is the condition when we are talking about parents positive side. Unfortunately, there are also lousy parents whose addicted for sniffing aica aibon (contains Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) or drink oplosan (softdrink mixed with paramex, or local made alcohol). This situation goes more complicated if the father has polygamy marriage. In my opinion, many parents still don't recognize education is that important. But if they know and realize it, I believe they will support their children to go to school diligently. Like the parents of my students, they are very supportive.

All my students expenses are supported by the mining company CSR. The CSR awarded scholarship for selected local children. What is the criteria for scholarship? I don't really know it. But there is a special case : siblings whose father died on war, they all got the scholarship-3 of them. Perhaps in the CSR point of view their father is kind of heroic. As you can read here, we have a complex students background which affects their behavior for studying. Not many student are highly motivated to learn at our boarding school, and many of them don't get familiar yet with discipline and healthy life style. 

Those are challenges at our school, we are still working on it, and I'll share it later on.

Timika, 7 June 2014

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