Learning the Alphabets.
Written by Fauzi Aksana Rustam, Tanoto Foundation Sumatra Utara
Realizing that many small children in his village were not educated yet, the Head of Dolok Nauli Village, Pandapotan Sirait, decided to do something. He used his house to gather the children and asked his wife to teach them. Taking place in a room with wooden walls and supported by limited facilities, students started to learn.
Pandapotan started to think about improving the Early Childhood Education Center when most of the students were saying that they did not feel that they were in a school. In 2011, Pandapotan wrote a proposal to one of Tanoto Foundation corporate partners, PT. Toba Pulp Lestari. His proposal was simple. He would like to get learning tools and playground equipment for the students.
PT. Toba Pulp Lestari did not only provide the students with tools and equipment. The corporate partner of Tanoto Foundation also offered to build the class room. Pandapotan and the villagers of Dolok Nauli happily accepted the offer. They all worked together to build the class room.
In 2012, the building process was completed. It is now called Sasapa Desa Dolok Nauli Center. Although the room is rather simple, the students can now study comfortably. The room is completed with learning kits, furniture, and books. And they have some playground equipment as well.
“The children can now study in a room that is safe and secured, not in one with wooden walls. Now they feel that they are in a real school,” said Pandapotan, smiling.
“Before we had the Center, parents usually took the children to the field. But their response was really positive when the Center started to operate. They understood that it would be better for their children to spend their time studying and playing with their friends here. Now the Center is supported by two teachers. We have 30 children who come here regularly,” Pandapotan proudly explained.
To support the Center further, Tanoto Foundation will train the teachers to improve their capacity in teaching the students.