BANDUNG, unpas.ac.id – “Mengabdi membuat kita bersyukur dan lebih banyak belajar” (lit. serving to the nation makes us grateful and learn more)
That is what Novadila Ramadhan, a final-year student of Communication Studies Department, Faculty of Social and Political Science (FISIP) Universitas Pasundan, had in mind, after completing her volunteer program in Sebatik Island.
She, alsong with other 17 volunteers from various disciplines became the delegation of Indonesia Youth Action (IYA) to help develop sector of education, social environment, health, as well as tourism and creative economy in Sungai Limau Village, Central Sebatik Sub-District, Nunukan District, North Kalimantan.
There is something interesting about this volunteer program. Dila, as she is familiarly called, initially thought that Sebatik Island was in a remote and underdeveloped area. As it turned out, the condition of the roads and ports was actually quite well-ordered, far beyond her expectations. There are even several villages that are centres of community productivity, such as Sungai Nyamuk Village and Aji Kuning Village.
“This is the first time I joined volunteer program in the borderline, where it needs few steps to cross to the neighbour country, Malaysia. I felt a little guilty because I once thought that the borderline in Kalimantan were identical to forests. But in reality, it is not. The distance between the residents’ house is indeed quite far,” she said.
Viewing the Education in Sebatik Island
According to her serving experience for approximately 10 days, Dila saw that schools in Sebatik Island mostly lack of human resources. There are many of them who have double position at the schools; being the head of foundation, headmaster, even teacher in the class.
“Most schools there are for primary; while for secondary and high school, there are few. After graduating from schools, most students help their parents; or, if they want to go to college, they need to go out from the island. The island lacks of facilities; it is far different than those schools in Java,” she continued.
Creating the Optimism through Her Work Program
Of four division offered to her, Dila chose education sector. She and her volunteer colleagues conducted the work program which has been planned before. For education division, the program which has been carried out were inspiration class, literacy and storytelling, nature school, creation class, basic training for line-march and recitation.
“In the inspiration class, we explained about the dream, how important a person to have a dream and various existing professions in order to make the students believe of their dream. We convinced them that they could be anything they want. They wrote their dreams in an origami paper, created to any kind of forms,” she explained.
There were also literacy program and storytelling, to build their self-confidence and public speaking skill to make them be confident speaking in public. Meanwhile, in nature-school program and creation class, the volunteers provided students with specific knowledge about type of organic and an-organic trash, then ask them to find for the trash and classify them.
“For creation class, we made a tie-dye shirt together. We let them to create their own motive and colour they want. Well, since it coincided with Hari Sumpah Pemuda, we also carried out the flag-ceremony and taught them the basic training of line-march,” said Dila.
In the environmental division, there was a program of eco-enzyme socialization; a trash organization from the waste of fruit and vegetable to be used a soap, fertilizer and so on. Also, an eco-brick program, champaign boards and mutual assistance.
Health division also conducted counselling on stunting (a condition in which the child’s height is shorter than the height of children his age), socialization of Covid-19 prevention, medical check-ups and medication administration, as well as brushing teeth together at Sekolah Tapal Batas.
Meanwhile, tourism and creative economy division made a documentary video recording the volunteer activity in Sebatik Island, MSMEs branding and human-capital-based handcraft, such as making works from used clothes that have a selling value and can be traded.
Changing the Mindset and Learning More
In Sebatik Island, Dila got a lot of experiences. She and other volunteers joined the same forum called Forum Indonesia Muda (FIM), a place for youths who wandered outside the region to study and return to build Sebatik Island.
“They came back to Sebatik Island by bringing a lot of new experience and knowledge. They are very critical, curious over something; and they are willing to change Sebatik Island to be better. The societies are very cooperative, tolerant, and aware of us. These are what make us feel comfortable to stay,” she said.
Dila admitted that doing volunteer program in Sebatik Island has made her a better person; more grateful, patient, adaptive and appreciative. The reason is, people of Sebatik Island really rely on rainwater for their daily needs because it is hard to even access for obtaining clean water, which is far and the price is expensive. Not to mention the network that is hard to come by.
“If we or they want to have the signal, they need to climb up the hill. To charge the power of the cellular phone, they needed to walk to the borderline post, about 1 hour. The electricity source is still relying on the sunlight; therefore, at night, if the electricity is not quite powerful, it would dark all night,” she said.
In the near future, Dila wants to take another participation in similar program. Today, Dila is currently waiting for final selection of Ekspedisi Jejak Budaya volunteer program in Wonokitri Village, Tosari Sub-District, Pasuruan Districk, East Java; a village around Tengger Tribes, precisely in the highlands of Bromo-Tengger-Semeru mountains. (Reta)*