Meet The Kids


No matter the considerable disruptions and challenges in their home life the SB! children show up at 11am each school day with their backpacks, wearing their hand-me-down BIS uniforms and with eager smiles on their faces. They want to be in school, they want to learn and they demonstrate each day their motivation. Scroll down past the gallery to read their bios.

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SB! provides an education and a chance for shanty-dwelling Indonesian boys and girls, who were told from the beginning that they would not get schooling, in the hope that the originally set course of their lives is altered

Agung: is the brother of Andik and Anik. They are a family of 6 children. Agung, like his siblings, has a very good disposition – and is almost never away from school. He’s a member of the Under 10 Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Akbar: He is originally from Bulakan shanty and like many of the other children had to move to a new home, which his family did on the 17th September. He pulled a cart from one place to another: part of a sequence of disruptions that has stricken his life. But at school, having shifted from one hut to another – he focuses on his studies. See Akbar’s soccer maths.  He has an older brother called Dede who has a lot of personal issues (he left Sekolah Bisa! due to no support from his parents and lack of enthusiasm). Akbar now has a new sibling. His mother, Ibu Asih gave birth to Erik in November 2012. Adrian Thirkell and Judy Clayton with the CAS Optimal Health Team helped them to relocate homes to a place where conditions were more sanitary. Which makes them now a family of 7 in a 3 x 3 metre home. Akbar is a member of the Jombang Kampung soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Andik: He is the older brother of Anik and Agung – from a family of 6. A child who has demonstrated good character and talent from the first day – and never fails to thank his teachers at the end of the class. Andik was badly injured whilst begging in 2011 (he was hit by a bus on the street) and agreed, subsequently, never to beg again – a pledge he has kept. He’s a member of the Jombang Kampung soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Andri: is a very frail student – but impeccably polite and attentive to his studies. He had, in November, his first ever visit to the dentist – with two baby teeth extracted. He’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Anik: Adrian Thirkell, BIS IB CAS Co-ordinator, came across Anik filthy and crying at Bintaro railway station – she had been cast adrift to beg. When she joined SB! she sat in a palm weaving class. It was her first such class – and, within just moments of observing the teacher, she understood the fairly complex 4-part process, and wove a ‘kris’ shape from her leaf. Quick thinking, alert and creative, Anik finds a place in SB! where she can plunge deep down into her expressive capacity, and learn that she is more than a supplicant; more than a beggar girl. A child not in school is a child despised – a child condemned by the impersonal forces of a state that has failed in its basic obligations. What will stand in the place of failure? – in Anik’s case, The British School of Brussels, which funds Anik’s schooling and welfare, and Sekolah Bisa! She’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Arie: Arie is a 7 year old boy originally from Bulakan shanty, but like his friends, he and his family were forced to move out of Bulakan because it was bulldozed by the new land owner. After the community at Bulakan had to move, Arie’s family found a new home some distance away. He struggles to go to Sekolah Bisa! because he has to go on a public angkot first in order to reach the pick-up point for the Sekolah Bisa! funded angkot. Unfortunately, his parents do not support him with money for the transport cost. A delightfully good humoured child who has missed almost no school at all since starting in May 2011. He’s motivated! He’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Cici: is the sister of Agus – the first graduate of SB!  Their father abandoned the family. Their Mother works as a maid.

Ela: is a proud holder of a birth certificate. Many shanty-dwelling children do not have birth certificates. The children are therefore not officially recognised as citizens of their own country. Without a birth certificate they cannot be enrolled in school. SB! offers an education to these children where before, this fundamental right did not exist. A group of BIS IB CAS students are researching ways to assist each of the children to obtain a birth certificate. This is particularly crucial as the new Health Card initiative (holders will be eligible to receive state funded medical and dental care) to be implemented in Jakarta will require this identification.

Finni: recently enrolled and lives in an adjacent kampung. Her father abandoned the family and all the children left school. BIS provides for the education of Finni’s older siblings at government schools.

Henny: The oldest child at SB! – the sister of twins Rahmad and Rohmat – and Jihan. A highly creative and talented young woman whom we hope to send to SMP after her Paket A exams in July.

Iki: is often unwell with asthma but is a lovely child. He lives with his family at Bulakan in a wood hut – one of the few who still remain on the edge of the Bulakan community. He’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Indra: He was found begging with current SB! student Ramadam by Adrian Thirkell (BIS IB CAS Coordinator). Indra asked if he could become a student at Sekolah Bisa! too and was particularly keen to join the football team Bintang Bisa! coached by the JSFA IB CAS students.

Jefri: lives the most disrupted life of all the children and has many experiences of begging at the railway station – from which SB! now protects him. He lives sometimes with his grandmother and sometimes with his parents. He’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Jihan: is the older sister of the twins and a delightfully mannered girl. Jihan was introduced to Sekolah Bisa! by Ibu Rima (Community Coordinator and PA to the Head of Secondary BIS). Jihan and her family would pass by Ibu Rima’s house every day in order to do scavenging. After Ibu Rima noticed Jihan pulling the garbage cart, she helped Jihan to join a TPA (an Islamic school). When space became available, Jihan eventually joined Sekolah Bisa. She’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Maman: has just moved from the Bulakan shanty which was bulldozed by the new landowner. In the past, during visits to Bulakan, he was often found on his own chewing uncooked Indomie noodles – his mother having gone to work. Essentially he’s an orphan: His father has already passed away and his mother is away from home most of the day working as a maid. Now, after a year at SB! Maman is remade, revitalized and impassioned. In sewing, he’s found a well spring of creativity – and a means to set a course in life based upon it. It’s unlikely Maman will pass the National Examinations – he struggles, possibly because he’s dyslexic. But he now has a sure and secure trajectory: to study and to develop his vocational skills – leading to his Bag? Bisa! enterprise (which will be based at SB!). We thank all our partners (Ibu Sumarti, our sewing teacher; Sulis, who donates beautiful batik; Amalina School – and all those at SB! and BIS who nurture him daily) who have enabled Maman, from almost nothing, to reconstruct his life – and to find joy in it. What will Maman do today? He’ll read. He’ll write. And he’ll be in the skills loft – funded by the British Women’s Association Jakarta (The BWA 2012 Cool Britannia Golf Tournament donation made it possible to buy a manual Singer sewing machine – no access to electricity – and pays the salary of the sewing teacher until August 2013) – to whom Maman owes a significant debt of thanks – his foot on the treadle, his fingers on the cloth and the handwheel – and his eye upon the needle. And in so doing he’ll help express what SB! is: a place where those cast away may know and express their worth. On 5th August, Maman deposited Rp.760,000 in his SB! account to be withdrawn as and when he needs some money. This week (17 September) he withdrew some cash, as he and his mother now plan to obtain his birth certificate. Maman is 13 years of age.

Mayang: She is the older sister to Ramadan. Mayang has been taken by police to the “Panti Social” on two occasions – having been taken from the streets whilst begging. Now, however, she almost never begs – and has never returned to the notorious Blok M area of Jakarta. School for Mayang is as much child-protection as anything else – and she’s flourishing. She’s one of the three female members of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League. Recently Mayang had a birthday. The JSFA CAS students with the SB! children celebrated with a cake and gave her a gift of a new pair of soccer boots they purchased themselves from a local pasar (SB! always need donations of old boots small enough for primary-age children).

Mudi: We asked Mudi if he’s happy at Sekolah Bisa! He said, “Lebih dari pada senang.” He’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League. Overall, he’s the most committed member of the school. A well and washroom at his home is being funded by the BIS based “Spreading Smiles” charity.

Nina: I’ve observed Nina during reading time at SB! She sits quietly and focuses intently on her story book. Sometimes she reads the story out loud. She looks so content when she’s reading. Christine (Friends of Sekolah Bisa!).  She’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Ramadan: He is the younger brother of Mayang – and a child who missed a lot of school because his parents obliged him to beg. He was introduced to Sekolah Bisa! after  Mr.Thirkell saw him desperately begging in Blok M (a business and shopping quarter that is home to an infamous collection of bars, discos and night clubs located in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta). Now, with his parents’ change of heart, he’s at school every day – and a remarkably able child. He’s an enthusiastic member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Rahmad: Jihan and Henny’s younger brother.

Rohmad: Jihan and Henny’s younger brother.

Rendi: For a time the youngest child at SB! Remarkably witty and supportive of other’s learning. His father helped us recruit children from the Bulakan community when SB! opened. He’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Yoga: A precocious and wonderfully aspirational child who strives hard in all he does. A real character: He’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

Yusuf: is the son of an angkot* driver. He is the first child to learn to read at SB!  A documentary of his father is currently being made. Ibu Wiwid says Yusuf is very smart. He’s a member of the Bintang Bisa! soccer team entered into the Jakarta Schools Football League.

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+++++ OUR GRADUATES +++++

Agus, Rita and Ipul are SB!’s first graduates – Ipul comes back to SB! Fridays for extra English! It’s good to maintain a link with him – and ensure he is still attending his new school.

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*Angkot (an abbreviation of Angkutan Kota) are a form of transportation in Indonesia. They are like mini-vans and behave somewhat similar to taxis. Passengers sit in the 2 long seats in the back facing each other (4 on one side, 6 on the other). You don’t buy a ticket, you pay for your journey at the end. The route a particular angkot follows is posted on the windshield, usually with place names abbreviated.  It can stop anywhere along that route according to the destinations of passengers on board at that particular time. When you want to get off, you shout loudly “kiri” which means left in Bahasa Indonesian.

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