Papua Kartinis Inspire Communities

26 April 2017

This woman from the Dani tribe is a graduate in business administration from the Parahyangan University in Bandung.

TRIBUNNEWS.COM, JAKARTA -- Hermina Kosay and Wilma Sawaki are the modern incarnations of Kartini. From the deep inland region of Papua, they are both trying to in spire the community around them.

Hermina Kosay has been an instructor with the Nemangkawi Mining Institute (IPN)since it was establishment in 2007. This Dani tribe woman is a graduate in business administration from the Parahyangan University in Bandung. IPN itself is an institution that was established by Freeport as a work training centre to form human resources in Papua.

Her duty in IPN is to prepare PT Freeport Indonesia’s pre-apprentices so that they can read and count and take part in the next series of tests in order to join the apprentice program. Although it seems easy, her duty is in reality heavy because she has to make sure that the participants can read and count in a mere six weeks. 

She is now able to judge the capabilities of her students by merely looking at the way they sat. Students who are eager to learn usually sit straighter compared to the others, who often can fall asleep during lessons.The challenge she is facing in teaching is that the learning abilities of her students varies wildly, with some already able to read but not fluently,m to those who have just come to know about the various letters. There was even participants who had a general senior high school certificate but could not read

She often has to motivate and guide her students so that their learning spirit does not wane, saying that if one wanted to advance, hard work was necessary.

One thing that she always try to drill to her students is that they should come to the institute to learn, and not to work. Some of her students often think they were already smart enough and wanted to as soon as possible take part in on-field practice.

A student angered by failure to pass a tests, once even threatened her with an ax and a knive. But the incident did not discourage the spirit of this mother of three and on the contrary, she felt more challenged to serve the community.

 “I am part of this community, I care for them and I want that they can have a better lifem” Hermina replied when asked what her motivation was to become an instructor.

“The presence of IPN with its full facilities and practice-oriented study method, is really a great help for our youth who are in the productive age. Even though their capabilities are below standards and their education not too high, but with IPN, they can obtain rightly-targeted trainings. If possible, this place should not be closed down because it is of great help. Without IPN, I man certain that the community, especially our productive-age youth, will be unemployed and there will be no better life for them, especially in the form of a job that needs skills,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Wilma Sasaki’s decision to become a volunteer was because her husband is a Freeport employee. As a wife, she felt a calling to serve the community where she lived. 

She started by joining the PKK, a women group aiming to empower its members and women in the surrounding community, in Tembagapura in 2011. As with most PKK groups, she taught women in Kampung Banti and its surroundings to make flower arrangements from recycled materials, to weave and other skills. 

Because she had to often visits the villages, she observed that many children of primary school age did not yet know how to write and read, and even could not hold a writing implement correctly.  The mother of five then decided to focus on teaching infants. In April 2012, together with other members of PKK Tembagapura, and the church’s women association, she opened the first Infant Learning Facility (PAUD) in Kampung Kimbeli.

The presence of this PUD was welcomed by the community and soon, other PAUDs were opened in three other villages (Banti I, Banti II, Opitawak), with pupils numbering around 40 infants.  Even though the distances between the villages were not long, the local geographical conditions, mostly hilly, demanded that she prepared herself physically to be able to actively visit the PAUDs.

This activity is part of the positive multiplier effect of Freeport’s presence on the surrounding communities. Freeport also often lends its support to,  the growth of children through community activities, such as the provision of shoes for the children, writing implements for the children and holding a program to promote the washing of hands with soap. 

Opitawak is one of the farthest village and is located on top of a hill. People must walk uphill for some seven kilometers, but Wilma Sasaki undertake this long wals happily. She not only teaches, but along with the other PKK members, she also provides additional nutritious food for children and train the women to weave while their children were learning.

For her, meeting a former students who are now already in primary school, is a source of joy. The funny thing is that often, the children call her Mrs. Teacher.

Serving the community through the PAUDs, is never boring or tiring for her. There is only happiness, even more so when her pupils are able to write and count. (*)


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