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IHF in Jakarta: Volunteering, An Eye-Opening Experience

By Grace, Volunteer from UNNC 


Before coming to Jakarta, I had no idea how other people behaved, in different countries and regions, when faced with the pressures of life. I, along with the other volunteers from UNNC, have led a relatively smooth life in China. I've learned things will usually be resolved in the end, even if it starts from something bad. Even before coming to Jakarta, I thought about volunteering with children and getting to know people of different cultures for a long time.

Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia. Since coming to the IHF Jakarta Education Center we have met different kinds of local volunteers. Some are very active in the center, others only stop by once, and then leave; but all of them are so optimistic!


One of the local volunteers, Dita, took us to an art gallery, Chinatown, and a cliff. She is really good at sharing her feelings with others. For example, she told us stories about local situations, which helped us learn more about local culture.


Devi, another local volunteer, is fond of taking photos for us. We took a great trip with her to both monas and the beach to see the lunar moon eclipse, as a self-driving tour. Although she has her own work, Devi always wants to do something for others. After teaching an SD2 (grade level 2) class with me, Devi teaches another math class. She always delivers love to those who need it most.


The passion that the volunteers have is remarkable. They want to pass on their knowledge to others.


The children here can be loud, but they are also a little shy. Because of the language barrier, it can be difficult to communicate with them; however, the barrier disappears when we play and sing songs with them.


We have two girls at the center who are twins, they are always so excited for Mandarin class, but they always are so mischievous in my English class!  They are so smart and kind! For example, they will bring a textbook to someone who is new to our class and they can fill in some blanks quickly, which are difficult for others, in the worksheets I make.


I know that the opportunities for some children to learn here are precious, because many of them require funding through donations to continue, or further, their studies. When this is the case, they only receive support if they perform well. Still, for an impoverished family, this is extremely helpful. 

I know that some of the children's family lack of money, and with so many brothers and sisters, this means a poor quality of life for the children. But when these children come to the IHF Jakarta Center, I only find smiles on their faces. In order to keep smiles on their happy faces, I give all of my love and passion to teach them. When I first got to the Jakarta Center, I remember I felt uncomfortable before one of my SD2 classes, I was sick to my stomach with nerves and couldn't even start my class, until one girl rushed up and embraced me, shouting "Miss Grace!"

It is important to me to do something to help these children who are faced with so many problems, and yet never give up on hope and love.

Last week when the students in SMA12 class heard that I would be leaving in a week, the brightness in their faces suddenly faded. I know that my effort to teach them will never be forgotten, it will be something the carry with them for the rest of their lives. This has been an eye-opening and unforgettable experience for me too!

It is important that all of us show love and compassion to these children in need.


I know that the students gained a lot of knowledge from our  English and Mandarin classes. I'm sure it will help them in the future. I know that and I, and the other UNNC volunteers, will miss these dear children forever!