Financial constraints became Yudi’s obstacle in getting into higher education. But that was then, now…
The tough life as a single parent made Yudi’s mother gave up. Supporting six children all on her own was certainly not an easy task. It was very difficult meeting their basic needs, let alone having to think about education. Muhammad Triwahyudi, who was then in his second year of high school, had to accept a bitter decision: to get out of school due to financial constraints. But God’s way was never closed. There were always plenty of other paths opening up to those who would try and keep on praying. “When I had nothing to do, I saw a friend. He advised me to go to Rumah Belajar Cipinang. “My friend said, ‘It’s pretty good there. There are affordable computer and English courses and you pay only Rp10.000 per month,’” Yudi said.
Yudi followed the suggestion of his friend. Equipped with a certificate of competence from neighborhood associations, and a junior high school diploma, he was accepted to take Package C in Rumah Belajar managed by YCAB Foundation. Later on, Yudi discovered that Rumah Belajar was God’s answer to his prayers so far: to continue school. “In addition to Package C, there were vocational courses as well in Rumah Belajar. It was true, as my friend said; the cost of school and courses was only Rp10.000 per month. Very affordable but I received a lot of benefits,” he recalled.
The five of them, Yudi with other friends from Rumah Belajar Cipinang’s first generation of students, continued their education. “Out of the five people, however a few were not yet qualified to attend the third grade. Some had to enroll in the first grade, and others were still in the second grade. There were only two people who attended the third grade.” Having only a few friends did not dampen Yudi’s interest in learning. “I was the best student in my class … of two people … hahaha,” he joked.
The schedule in Rumah Belajar was almost like a formal school, every day from morning until noon. The lesson in formal school made no difference. In fact, Yudi felt that learning at Rumah Belajar was more fun. “In my old school, the teacher was not attentive. The students were sleeping, made too much noise, or wanted to listen … it was up to them…,” he said. While in Rumah Belajar, especially with the condition of one class with only two students, studying was more serious and focused, preparing students to take the Package C test. “Oh my God, there were no cheat sheets during exams in Rumah Belajar, and we could not open our books. I was quite frustrated,” recalled Yudi as he laughed. He compared the conditions of his friends in formal schools who were busy looking for key answers and preparing a cheat sheet.
There were no cheat sheets during exams in Rumah Belajar and I was not allowed to open my books
New Life Chapter
After finishing his education in Rumah Belajar, apparently good fortune had not been in favor of Yudi. He had tried to apply for jobs in various companies, but the results were not as expected. For example, in one fast food restaurant he was not accepted, because he only had a Package C diploma. Disappointed? Certainly. But Yudi did not despair. He decided to help his mother selling food. His mother’s stall was in Thamrin, Central Jakarta, and at that time it had only been running for two years. Yudi’s job was to bring his mother’s cooking to the stall before lunch, and then serve the customers until the shop closed. From this business, Yudi earned money.
Little by little, Yudi’s saved enough to enroll in the college of Language Education and Indonesian Literature, University Indraprasta PGRI. Lectures take place every Monday-Thursday afternoon, after Yudi finishes selling.
Now, Yudi is in his second year. He hopes to graduate on time so he can get a better job. The third son of six siblings is the only one in the house who has had a taste of college. “My two elder siblings did not graduate from junior high school. But they did not want to go to Rumah Belajar. My brother who graduated from vocational school, did not want to go to college, because he didn’t like learning …,” he said. But Yudi is still eager to promote Rumah Belajar, because he feels that his life is better after studying there. “Rumah Belajar is my stepping stone. Thanks to Rumah Belajar, I have a high school diploma, and I can go to college. If not, surely I would still be unemployed even now. Now, at least I know I can have a bachelor’s degree,” he said optimistically. With a Bachelor’s degree, Yudi hopes that his quality of life can be even better. Hopefully!