Stories of Change

Top: Ahmed at farming lesson, Middle: Ahmed helping with group home info session, Bottom: Anwar at school

A Stepping Stone for Inclusive Education

If you ever moved as a child, you probably know how frightening, nerve-wracking and difficult the transition into a new school can be. For children who are also refugees, these feelings are only part of the many obstacles they must overcome to pursue an education in their new home. Not only might they be unaccustomed to the education system in their new country, but the youth and their parents may not know the language yet. This makes it challenging to enroll in school in the first place and leaves many youth feeling unprepared to go to school.

Through our program, “Protecting Urban Refugees through Empowerment”, also known as PURE, in Jakarta, Indonesia, we are working to bridge this gap. In the past year, we helped 81 children and young adults enroll in school. We hosted preparatory classes for children to feel ready to enter into the education system and provided lessons in subjects ranging from Indonesian, English, computer skills, sewing and drawing. Through vocational classes such as barbering, painting, and smartphone repairs, we also made sure teenagers and young adults aren’t left behind.

We have already begun to see the impact on this program on the children we serve. Anwar Mohammed is 9 years old and just started attending a nearby school with the help of PURE. So far, she has thrived in her classes where teachers have partnered with CWS to ensure that the environment is comfortable and inclusive for Anwar. Anwar’s mother shared that although she herself is unable to speak English or Indonesian, she is happy that her daughter will and is excited about the bright future Anwar is working towards.

Another young bright student who recently began attending school is Mohammad Farhad, an 11-year-old boy from Afghanistan. While Mohammad has had some struggles learning Indonesian, his teacher recognized his skill in other subjects such as math and English. The school he is attending has many other refugee children and just like Anwar’s school, has accommodated to meet Farhad’s needs and heighten his talents. Farhad’s mother is a single mother struggling with acute kidney disease. She feels thankful that her son is receiving additional support to become a smart and independent young man.

The educational impact of the program goes beyond students and onto the teachers as well. Ahmed Haidari is a young refugee from Afghanistan who lived in one of CWS’ PURE group homes as an unaccompanied child. While living at the group home, he became known for his good attitude and intelligence. When he reached the age limit for the group home, CWS helped Ahmed become an interpreter and volunteer teacher for the group home. Ahmed is perfect for this role thanks to the education he received with the help of CWS, his excellent language skills and his understanding of the refugee experience. He is not only seen as a teacher but a friend and mentor by the young boys at the group home.

From childhood to adulthood, we believe that education can change lives. CWS is grateful to be the stepping stone that children and youth like Anwar, Farhad and Ahmed need to pursue a fruitful education and become bright, happy and healthy adults.