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Education prevents poverty


Siti Musyaropah, Elementary Teacher, 29 years old, West Kalimantan

“Education is important for children as it gives them the tools they need to achieve their future dreams. I’m a teacher at Eka Tjipta Kayung Elementary School and my students range from eight to 12 years old. I teach a variety of subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Bahasa Indonesia.

When Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) started its operations on this plantation in 2013, the school was built to improve access to education for children so they can attend school regularly, close to home. GAR provides free education (from kindergarten to junior high) to children of permanent employees and casual workers living on the Kayung Estate. Those living near the plantation can also receive a subsidised education.

Siti teaching her students.

While classroom subjects are essential, here in the plantation, it is equally important to teach children practical knowledge such as how to prevent forest fires and sustainable farming. By understanding the negative impacts of forest fires and building a mindset of sustainable practices from a young age, they are more likely to continue these environmentally-conscious actions in their adult lives, and hopefully, their families and communities will follow suit too.

It took me a while to adjust living far away from my hometown in Kendal, but after five years, I’ve made many friends with teachers from different towns. We support each other at work when we face challenges in teaching our students. My colleagues and I appreciate that GAR gives us regular training to overcome these challenges, such as the recent Budi Pekerti (Character Building) course we attended in Jakarta. It was very useful and we will use it as teaching material.

Siti has been teaching at the Eka Tjipta Kayung Elementary School since 2013.

As a young girl, I always dreamt of becoming a teacher. I used to teach my nephews how to count and read. My personal goal as a teacher is to not only be a good role model for my students but to help them grow up to be kind successful adults. I am proud that some of my previous students have gone on to do well in junior high, and I am happy that they have been given an opportunity of a bright future.”

GAR believes that education is a powerful enabler for breaking the cycle of poverty in rural areas. In 2016, GAR supported 217 schools ranging from kindergarten to senior high. These schools employ over 1,600 teachers who educate more than 28,200 students. Find out more here.

Click here to discover more stories behind the extraordinary, everyday lives of the people transforming palm oil.

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