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A brook of Mahakam river flowing to the east into the depth of the forest and villages in the Kutai hinterland, East Kalimantan. There lies a kindergarten, just by the river, to shine out the next generation to the future. “What planted in the beginning would never cease…” says those who are the change-makers.
 
>>text & photos : Toni

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From the river bank where the small boat is tied up, a wooden bridge with 1.5meters wide brings us to go across the village to where the kindergarten is. It’s a simple building standing with green grass and flowers in the front yard. The children are happy playing in a bright sunny day.

 

Rosani arrived in this village in 2002. Children who didn’t go to school were easily found at the time. She the started to teach and educate these children and her ministry developed and become Bakti Terpadu Kindergarten. Rosani was not alone, she was accompanied by Hana then Paualina came along. Together they pioneered the ministry to reach Dayak Basaf tribe in this small village. Rosani chose the name ‘bakti’ (=loyal, service) as her ‘service’ to her homelandaa. She’s a Dayaknese (Dayak Kenyak) who was born and grew up in Lekaq Kidau village – about 100 km of this village.

   

The people of Dayak Basaf dwells in the upstream of Jembayan river – a brook of Mahakam river. There are only 60 families, most of them have migrated because of their farming pattern. Their numbers have become smaller for the last 10 years. Thousands of acres of the forest that used to shelter their homes are now turn into transmigration area and coal mine.

Changes in Jembayan Upstream

The Dayak Basaf people are now live side by side with new comers from Java, Kutai and Banjar. Their openness through the daily interaction resulted assimilations in cultural and tradition, mostly through mix marriages. Their original culture has become a blurr, even most of these Dayak Basaf people only speak Bahasa Indonesia (national language) with Malay accent.

TK BAKTI TERPADU   Petani di Jonggon Desa
     

Time is passing by, season after season, and the Bakti Kindergarten becomes a witness of changes in Jumbayan upstream. After some time, Rosani left the village. The education of the children is past down to Paulina and new teachers come and go: Lestari, Naomiaa Ratusira, Noni… The persisten and perseverance of these young ladies have brought many breakthrough.

These young ladies have become a cross-culture bridge. They even challenged the people to leave the old worldview such as : education for boys are important than girls, teenage girls are to get married rather than to continue their education at school because after all they’d end up in the kitchen; children grow up according to the will of their parents, no need to seek out /appreciate their interest  or talents, afater all they’d get married and take care of the farm. And there are more of these that could kill a child’s future.

But now the paraents have changed the way they see their children, education and future. Thanks to the effort and struggles of these Bakti Kindergarten teachers, the children can now grow and develop in good physical and socio-emotional condition, with good character, have good spirit and dreams!

 

Eight Years Later

At the school year of 2010/2011 there are 38 children actively learning in Bakti Integrated Kindergartena and they’re served by Miss Lestari (24) and Miss Arnau (28). Lestari was graduated from PESAT’s Kindergarten Teacher’s Training and she’s from Central Java. Miss Arnau is a native of Dayak Basafaa who was moved to help out when the kindergarten was short of teachers. She then took a 4 month’s course at the PESAT Kindergarten’s Teachers training and now she’s a teacher for grade A kindergarten and a fulltime tutor at Future Center.

  FUTURE CENTER AT JONGGOL
   THE FUTURE CENTER

TK BAKTI TERPADU, JONGGON

 

To date, Bakti Integrated Kindergarten has graduated about 320 children and brought them to the next level of education. And since 2008 the kindergarten has added a new ministry, Future Center,  and currently 85 children are served actively – 38 of current kindergarten children and 47 alumni.

Raising up a generation is a long term investment that needs a lot of people and resources.

Through a kindergarten we try to light on the darkness in Jembayan Upstream and deliver the next generation towards a bright shining future. The presence of Bakti Integrated Kindergarten is like a west wind bringing in new season.

*In memoriam: Naomie Ratusira 1984 – 2007

 

  
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