I will give you an idea of this job: you will teach street children, some of them drug addicts and some of them thieves. If you’re not sure about working here, my door is open for you to leave.
Pak Mohammad Nopal talked to me about the interview he had with YCAB’s deputy director five years ago. He stumbled upon YCAB Foundation as he was scrolling through the web, and without ever hearing of the charity foundation before, he applied for a job as a teacher.
It was the challenge that motivated him to be a YCAB computer teacher. At first he was placed in the Rumah Belajar Duri Kepa. He knew that his challenge was not so much of teaching basic computer skills to the youths, but was instead having to build a relationship with them, to be a part of their lives.
“One of the most memorable moments for me was the class of 2012-2013,” he said, “I had a close relationship with them because I was their student council (Organisasi Siswa Intra Sekolah) advisor.”
Pak Nopal noticed that the student council students had nothing to do. Since the only responsibility they had was to arrange the books in the library, he took the initiative to counsel them and together, they started to create extracurricular activities.
“In the beginning, we formed a futsal team, which was invited to play in Bitcham’s sports event against other foundations. Fortunately, we won first place!” he laughed as if he remembered the moment like it was yesterday.
The relationship between Pak Nopal and his students wasn’t like the teacher-student relationship anymore. He regarded them as his friends, and so did they.
“I also remember this one student, who the teachers despise because he was always skipping school.”
Pak Nopal started telling me a story about his most challenging student, who was always absent from classes and didn’t seem to care about his education. The other teachers gave up on him, but Pak Nopal decided to approach him instead, as a friend; he took the student out for lunch, hoping that he can open up and talk to Pak Nopal.
“He told me that he was working as a tukang parkir (a person who helps direct vehicles in the middle of the street), and if he received enough money for the day, he would go to school, but if he doesn’t, he needed to keep working.”
His experience in Rumah Belajar made him realize how important his role is for the students. As Pak Nopal now teaches computer in Rumah Belajar Manggarai, he still hopes to build the same relationship with all of the students.
“Working here has made me selfless. I became more aware to make a social impact in my country.”