Jana, that’s how people call him. He was born in 1996 as I Kadek Sujana, the second out of four children who grew up in a humble family with parents who worked as farmers.
Jana was a smart kid, he graduated elementary school in 2008 with above average grades and was ranked fifth out of 26 students. However, his parents’ financial struggle put him in a difficult decision between continuing his education to middle school or going straight to work.
Help came from his uncle who told him to look for other opportunities elsewhere and tried to enroll at SMP Gurukala located in Bangli regency, Bali, a religious school.
Jana followed his uncle’s advice and graduated from SMP Gurukala in 2011, this time around his teenage self did not think twice about going to high school in the same institution as he believed education was a way to make a better life. “I don’t want to be like my parents, despite my background I believe hardwork will bring positive results,” he says.
His high school years were filled with many accolades, he participated in cerdas cermat quiz and civic education debate, was also active in extracurricular activities such as National Flag Hoisting Team (Paskibraka) and even made it to the regional team.
In 2014, during his final year the school received a donation of 16 computers from Rumah Belajar YCAB Bangli in partnership with Bali United. The computers along with a course from Rumah Belajar students at Gurukala to practice what they had learned in theory about computer. Throughout the course that was held once a week students were taught about typing, making presentation, Internet browsing, social media and sometimes were allowed to play games.
Jana only took the course for a semester yet he learned a lot from it, he constantly asked questions, he found interest in graphic design and studied the subject by himself via YouTube. He also remembers the time when he, along with other students, were involved in setting up a room for the course. “Not many schools had that kind of facility and were given the freedom to access technology. I was also excited that I got to learn about Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel quicker,” tells Jana.
After his high school graduation, he continued to stay at the school’s boarding house and worked as a volunteer. He taught geography and was also sometimes asked to design promotional banners. One day he was called by the school principle, Jana was asked to assist Kadek Agus, the only teacher at Rumah Belajar YCAB Bangli who also taught Jana about computer back then. Jana was trusted with the keys to the multimedia room, any student who wanted to use a computer outside school hour needed to ask his permission first.
Being an assistant for Rumah Belajar had its own perks as it turned out, Jana gained new knowledge about hardware from helping to fix LAN problems and broken computers, “I felt like I was learning something instead of educating,” he recalls. He also grew close to Kadek Agus who is only 13 years older than him, he considers him as a brother and would sometimes talk to him about personal matters.
His good grades and experience made him eligible for a government scholarship called Bidikmisi. He filled out the application form, did the test and had a home visit from the scholarship committee. He was granted the scholarship to study philosophy at Institut Hindu Dharma Negri (IHDN) Denpasar. One of the scholarship requirements was to improve his grades in every semester, it was an easy task for him who had always been an A-student since he was a kid. He was even able to finish his undergraduate education in 3.5 years, graduated cum laude complete with an academic accolade in scientific essay and non-academic accolade in military training.
His graduation however was kept hidden from his parents, it was Jana’s own decision not to tell his parents about it as he didn’t want to have his parents’ expectation haunt him throughout his study. Also, he recalls that his younger self never would’ve thought of going to university because of financial constraint and his parents’ wish for him was to find a job after high school. But the scholarship opportunity from the government was the one that changed his life plan. “I still have the desire to study,” says Jana, and that desire is what motivated him to aim for a master’s degree.
Applying for a government scholarship for graduate school was harder, the requirement asked him to have already enrolled at the school before applying. Trying out his luck, Jana applied for a graduate program in Hindu studies at Udayana University. Three months into his study, he applied for a scholarship by Minister of Religious Affairs but he unfortunately was not selected.
Faced with the reality of having to fund his education by himself, in the second semester he took up a side job from a non-profit institution from Sidoarjo. For two hours a day he had to visit elementary schools in Bali to give education about libraries and school environment. On top of that he still had the volunteer job at Gurukala and worked as an assistant for Rumah Belajar YCAB.
During this time period he re-applied for the scholarship once again and the good news finally arrived a few weeks ago, he has been selected as one of the scholarship recipients.
Nowadays, Jana is still busy being a student, volunteer, educator and assistant. He says that he has so many things to be grateful for, one of them is being an assistant at YCAB because he is able gain more knowledge about technology that he can use to help others and pass down to his juniors at Rumah Belajar YCAB. “They [students at Rumah Belajar YCAB] come from different backgrounds, some live in a jungle and others reside up on the hills. My effort in educating them has resulted in them having basic knowledge about technology,” he says.
In the long run, after obtaining his Master’s degree Jana wants to become a university lecturer, he also shows interest in becoming a programmer. The latter profession he admits is a bit hard because programming language is quite complicated, “Even Kadek Agus sometimes has difficulties about programming,” says Jana.
But Jana is willing to study hard to master the subject, “[President] Soekarno once said, ‘put your dreams as high as the sky.’ My duty is to study, the rest is up to the process and circumstances,” he tells. “I also hope that YCAB will continue to provide valuable and beneficial education. Continue to improve so that student’s education can also improve,” adds jana.
Siapa yang menanam, dia yang akan menuai (those who sow, reap the benefits) is a famous Indonesian proverb about hardwork. Jana is somebody who truly embodies this spirit, despite his limited upbringing, he slowly created a path that will eventually lead to his dreams. Hardwork and determination are the two things that one must have in order to to get where they’ve always dreamed of.