Every week in Grade 5 at JIS (Jakarta Intercultural School) we do “I-Time.” It’s an hour during which students are encouraged to make, do or research anything we’re interested in. This time, our teacher suggested we help someone else.

We – Alina, Katrina, and Emily – had first planned on organizing a Food Drive at school. The idea was to put out boxes around the school where people could donate canned food. Afterwards, we’d donate the food to an orphanage.

We then scheduled a meeting with our mentor teachers in order to get further advice. Halfway into the meeting though, we realized that there might be other things that are needed by the orphanage we were going to donate to. Curious to find out more, we decided that a field observation was required. We had to visit the Al Khariyah Orphanage ourselves.

Al Khariyah is an orphanage in Cilandak, South Jakarta, which takes care of 60 children – 20 boys and 40 girls – from the neighbouring kampong (village). It was founded in 1986 by Ibu Tetty’s grandparents. Today, it is run by seven caregivers. The age of the children living in the orphanage ranges from seven to 16 years old. Once they reach the age of 17, they are required to leave.

After discussing with the caregivers at Al Khariyah, we discovered that the children’s main needs were fans, a clothes iron, mats for eating and pillows for the boys. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the money to buy all of the items. We then decided to present our idea to the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) and reached out for help. Thanks to their support, we finally received enough funding to purchase all the necessary items.

Through this project we learned that hard work pays off and that sometimes you have to go through a long process to help other people. We also learned about the importance of effective giving. Rather than donating things you think others need, it would most likely be more effective if you reached out to them first, to find out what they really need. We want to help break the poverty cycle and not continue it. At the very least, we realize giving money may make things worse.

Even though this project is just one small thing, we hope that it will make a difference.

Text by Katrina Cleveland, Alina Huber & Emily Teo – Grade 5 students