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Project Neverland

June 17, 2016 - November 8, 2016

After live in US for 12 years, I thought it would be a good idea to go back home to spend more time with my family. But I also think it would be great if I could bring a little gift or happiness to other people in my town, Jakarta. And that s where this project begin.

“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned. Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never Never Land!” – Barrie

Peter Pan is one of my favorite fairy tale stories of all time. In my imagination, Neverland is like a sanctuary for the lost boys, where play, learn, feast, and adventure are not far in between.
When I found Bulir Padi’s video early this year, it reminded me of Neverland. They are able to give the unfortunate kids, the lost boys (or girls), a place where they can grow up, play, and enjoy their childhood from any harmful elements from the crazy world in Jakarta. Back in early 2000, I was fortunate to work with street kids. I got to know them more in person, and I was amazed by their story and saddened from what they had to experience every day. While for me, or most fortunate kids, I did not have to worry a thing about tomorrow. We just needed to worry about school and play. But for them, it was like a war. They had to create sort of their own tribe where they could watch each other, especially the young ones, from any prey from the outside and sometimes, from a crooked adult from their own “slum” neighborhood. They did not have a chance to think about education, play or enjoying their childhood moments, they were forced to grown up fast and learned “survival of the fittest” at an early age.
So since then, they have been in my mind. And now I finally find people who have the same vision. I am honored that they are allowing me to be part of this noble work, to help kids get a chance to have a better future.
For me education is always the best solution to many world problems, and in these kid’s hands I believe where we can change the future of Jakarta, even the world. We would never know what these kids are capable of. Also for me school is not only the place to read and memorize all the books out there, but more importantly how we learn to be part of society, how to interact with other kids from different background and how to solve any issue with other kids. Of course they can also make friends, play games/sport and enjoying youth

Bulir Padi
bulirpadiBulir Padi is a Jakarta based non-profit organization launched in 2002 that helps children from low-income families by providing them with scholarships and access to better education. Bulir Padi’s vision is to ensure and provide marginal children with to adequate education. To regain/increase the trust and hope of those marginally challenged children towards life and education, while instilling upon them a positive attitude/mentality in becoming self-sufficient individuals with potential and confidence.

Background Story
Jakarta population is 10 million where according to the UN Human Settlements program, close to 5 million live in the slums (40-50%), where around 1.5 million are kids (30%). Because of the rising inflation, the gap between the rich and poor has widened and economic growth has only benefited those rich few while the poor grows poorer. The national minimum wage is now set at Rp.2.7 million/month (around 200 USD) and the city’s poverty line has been set at US$1.24/day/person or around Rp.15,000.
Based on Bulir Padi’s internal data among their sponsored Households, and the average monthly income range is Rp 1,000,000-1,500,000/month (75 – 112 USD), where parents normally hold odd jobs like: buka warung/ street vendor, selling jamu/ traditional herbal drinks, wash clothes for money, construction, etc. So that’s an income of around 50,000/day (around 3.5 – 4 USD) for a household of 4-6 persons average.

DKI Jakarta
Based on UNESCO Document in 2010 (http://www.uis.unesco.org/Library/Documents/Indonesia.pdf), the cost of education, for public primary and lower secondary education is free for all citizens in Indonesia. Although tuition is free, for lower secondary school’s fees of approximately Rp 1,000,000 to Rp 2,000,000 (75-150 USD) are also collected monthly for books, uniform, and extracurricular activities. Upper secondary school is not free. The monthly tuition fee, which is decided by individual schools, ranges from Rp 1,000,000 to Rp 1,500,000 (75 – 112 USD) . There are additional fees of Rp 1,000,000 to Rp 2,000,000 (75-150 USD) per month for books, uniforms, and extracurricular activities.
Keeping in mind the cost of school/child I’ve mentioned above, living in urban Jakarta is definitely a huge challenge for them.
From Central Bureau of Statistics, Indonesia, although the education rate in general is getting better, but most of them are only from primary school. The number goes down dramatically for the higher degree of education. Most likely they could not afford the extra cost for monthly education fees, especially when the tuition is not free anymore. Also many of them would probably need to help the parents to support the family.

The government has launched BOS (School Operational Assistance) program in 2005, which gives free school for the required 9 years of schooling. Unfortunately that only covers Public Schools in Jakarta, where in reality, not all kids can be accepted into public schools since there is a school capacity limitation, and also with a high-grade requirements. So, their only choice is to find a private one, which costs more, hence putting them more at risk of dropping out.

How Can We Make a Different
With Rp. 250.000 (18 USD) a month or Rp. 3,000,000 per year (225 USD), you can help send a child to school. The school fee is covered and incentive driven according to the student’s performance in school and based on his/her report cards. This will hopefully motivate our Bulir Padi scholars to study and do well in school.
So my goal is to collect 3000 USD, which will allow us to give 10 students another year in school, or maybe give some of these kids a taste of higher education with hope they would be motivated to pursue more higher education.
It’s not fair that those not lucky enough/smart enough are not getting their basic rights to an education!

This fundraise project would be related to my running activity (off-course). So I am thinking to do a little race between my running mileage and the fund raise. I will match a mile for every 10 dollars, and let we see if I could keep up with your kindly donation.

You can make your donation through this link below:
https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/project-neverland–2

Also, you can track the donation vs my dollar mile (the distance that I run for every donation) with this link.