Helping to educate the street children of Indonesia

By Dea Salsabila Amira, an A World at School Global Youth Ambassador

Education is the movement from darkness to light as well as a weapon in advancing the nation. Illiteracy has become a global problem. UNESCO reports that there are 774 million illiterate people in the world, two-thirds of whom are women. And it is undeniable that literacy is important to the quality of life..

Currently the Indonesian government is working hard to achieve the educational targets of the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations. The government is working to decrease the number of illiterate people which, according to the data by Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture in 2013, includes 3.6 million people.

As a Global Youth Ambassador of A World at School from Indonesia, I have a strong desire to eradicate illiteracy in my country. I am a young woman who cares deeply and is dedicated to working on the education of children in Indonesia. Since I was in junior high school, I have been actively involved in teaching reading and simple math in kindergarten and primary school in the city of Surabaya. This school, which my grandmother runs, is dedicated to orphans aged 5-12 and does not charge any school fees.

I believe that every child arond the world has the right to enjoy basic education and that primary education is the only solution to decreasing the illiteracy rate. In carrying out my mission of education, I’ve taught street children who live under a bridge in the city of Jakarta every Saturday morning for the last two years.

Only a very few of these children are able to enjoy education in formal schools and most of them spend their days begging for money for their survival. Their parents usually work as beggars too, if not as scavengers, and they only have around two dollars a day to live. They can barely afford their daily basic needs, so they certainly cannot afford to send their children to school.

In May 2013, I created a social movement called Uniting As One, devoted to resolving the problems in basic education of street children and children who are living in remote areas of Indonesia. So far the social movement has helped street children in several cities, such as Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar (Bali).

Through this movement, and with the co-operation of several companies and local governments in Indonesia, we have achieved some great successes. One of the biggest events distributed 400 pairs of shoes and new school supplies to 400 street children in the city of Surabaya. In only a year of existence, Uniting As One has already had a real contribution to the education of street children in Indonesia.

As a youth and as a Global Youth Ambassador, I believe that I will be able to eradicate illiteracy in my country, by providing proper education through teaching basic reading, writing and math to street children and children who live in rural areas. I believe that my dreams can be achieved if all the parties involved, especially young people, speak out and take real action for advancement of the quality of education. Together we can build a golden generation, a generation full with qualified young people!

As Malcolm X said: “Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today.”

So what are we waiting for?  Together let’s be the agent of change in education. Action begins now!!