Back in 2010, the Cigugur Tengah Elementary School in Indonesia received a letter from the government saying that from that moment on the school was going to accept children with disabilities. One of teachers, Ibu Ima (Ibu means Miss in Indonesian) noticed that these students had low academic performance. She thought about how to encourage the children to explore their potential and decided that music could be a good solution.
Ibu Ima went to a local store to buy some angklung (traditional musical instruments made of bamboo) with her own money. No one at school appreciated her decision in the beginning, but she did not give up. Her vision is “If you want to change something, you need to start from yourself”. So she created an angklung “orchestra” together with her students, including children with disabilities. Ibu Ima saw potential in all children as they really enjoyed playing music. So she continued to teach angklung lessons until finally her orchestra had their first performance and she uploaded the video on YouTube.
When Save the Children provided the funding, Ibu Ima requested that the money was spent on purchasing more musical instruments, so that more children could participate in the orchestra. Today more and more children have the opportunity to learn music at Cigugur Tengah Elementary School. The students were receiving invitations to perform at many events in the city and have even broken the national record of playing angklung for one hour non-stop.
In April the school orchestra will perform in front of the leaders at the Grand 60th Commemoration of Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia. The children are now more motivated to study and have a chance for a better future. The Cigugur Tengah Elementary School is not the least popular school in the city anymore.
When the community at Cicilin sub-district of Bangun city realised there was a number of children with disabilities in their area, they felt like they had to do something. With support from Save the Children, they were trained in how to approach children with disabilities. Then they started to reach out to the families and provided information related to programmes they had. It was not easy in the beginning for the parents to accept, but the community kept going. Now they have only good responses from parents who would like their children to socialise. They helped more children with disabilities to receive therapy, play games, be social and get a basic education.
Rina (the girl on the left in the photo) is 20 years, she teaches parents to use sign language to talk to their children, who have difficulties with communication.
She plays with children herself and invents new games to develop motor skills.
Strong will from the community is needed as part of the way to help children with disabilities get access to a better education. The programme’s presence made a difference to the children with disabilities and their families. Children with disabilities are not only the responsibility of their families, but also the communities.