A TEACHER’S INFLUENCE REACHES FAR BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

 

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Ibu Dasri is an enthusiastic 45-year old wife and mother of three. As a teacher at the Early Childhood Education and Development Centre (PAUD), she is on a mission to ensure all children in her village have access to proper education. She also strives to give the people in her village access to clean energy technologies. Over the past year, Kopernik have seen how Ibu Dasri’s influence has spread from her neighbours and friends, to the whole community.

IBU DASRI AS AN EDUCATOR

Each morning, the Early Childhood Education and Development Centre (PAUD) comes alive with fun activities, as around 20 enthusiastic children take part in the morning exercise made up of dancing and singing together in circles. Ibu Dasri leads this activity every morning. She loves to spread cheerful and positive vibes around.

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As the heat from the morning sun intensifies, they move into the classroom, where Ibu Dasri will teach them basic writing and reading skills, drawing and colouring, and check their homework.

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Five year old Yuliani is one of the most eager students at the school. She sits in the front row everyday and is confident to raise her hand or stand in front of the class. She never loses sight at Ibu Dasri as she teaches the students. “She is my favourite teacher, she’s very kind!”, says Yuliani.

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Ibu Dasri teaches them about the importance of hygiene too. “Some kids have long nails, and you know what long nails do? They spread bacteria” says Ibu Dasri. She also ensures the students eat healthy food by encouraging them to bring their own food from home. “Homemade foods are healthier, and their mother knows what’s best to eat for them too, rather than buying food from hawkers with a risk of getting diseases because of the low hygiene quality”, says Ibu Dasri. At break time, the children open their lunch boxes and eat together.

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The founder Ibu Marhumah (school principal), started the centre in 2011. With passion to educate children in their early years, plus her previous teaching experience, Ibu Dasri accepted an offer to join Ibu Marhumah. In five short years they have progressed to having three teachers and 22 children. Ibu Dasri consistently teaches the children, even though she rarely earns a salary.

“The centre receives very little funding. The monthly school fee is only Rp. 60,000 (around USD 4.50), and a great amount of it goes to school maintenance and infrastructure. Not many parents are able to pay the monthly fee either. When there is enough money to pay the teachers, I only get Rp. 20,000 (around USD1.50), but I have the willingness and perseverance to teach these children and share my knowledge to them even without honorarium, because I believe their future is much more important”. For Ibu Dasri, educating children is the key to helping local children to overcome poverty issues in their future.

Nearing the end of the class, the children were putting their shoes on, ready to play outside. Then, something caught my eye. I noticed one girl helped her friend to put shoes on his feet. “Ah, that is a new boy, Aden”, the principal said to me.

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The children welcome Aden to play with them, hug him, and even shout “Kita sayang Aden, kita sayang Aden!” (“We love you, Aden!” in English). With that heart-warming sight fresh in my mind until now, I believe Ibu Dasri’s positive, kindhearted spirit and her desire to help others has passed on to the children.

How has Ibu Dasri’s role as teacher contributed to her role as a Wonder Woman? How does she contribute to the community? Why do the people in her village listen to her and buy technologies from her?

Outside the classroom, Ibu Dasri plays a significant role in her community. She also volunteers in the local health centre. She helps to manage the centre, and is in charge of promoting mother and child health. She also offers counseling and conducts immunizations for infants and toddlers.

The people in the village are convinced by the ways Ibu Dasri promotes Kopernik’s technologies because she has the credibility as an educator.

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In addition to that, she frequently visits other local schools to promote Kopernik’s technologies that will be useful for the students and teachers, such as water filters. In the picture above, Ibu Dasri visited an Islamic primary school around the Montong Gading district to set up three large water filters for the students and teachers, so they can enjoy clean, safe drinking water.

“She has all the knowledge about these water filters, solar lights, and the importance of using these technologies”, said Ibu Ada, one of Ibu Dasri’s neighbours. “She can explain the benefits to the local people in a simple, understandable way. The local health officers bought water filters from her, because they know that the water filter will make clean and safe water accessible. She was able to do that because she also actively helps in the local health care centre. She is not just a teacher, she is a woman who inspires the people in the village.”

There is nothing more than heroic than a teacher who has the power to make a difference, not only through teaching children, but also by educating the community to improve their health and livelihoods.