The second day of our trip to Bandung started with a beautiful sunny day. We departed from the hotel at 7:30 in the morning, heading to the Pameungpeuk sub district, South of Bandung, which is an hour away from the hotel. We visited the Sukasari Indah Elementary School, which is located in the Langosari Village in the Pameungpeuk area.
When the team arrived, the children were very enthusiastic in welcoming us. The head principal as well as all the teachers stood in front of the gate to welcome us. Once the team entered the school ground, the students performed some music performances. The performances were divided into two groups. The first group presented a traditional Indonesian song titled “Ibu Kita Kartini”, which means Our Mother Kartini. Kartini, or Raden Ayu Kartini, or sometimes known as Raden Ajeng Kartini, was a prominent Javanese and an Indonesian national heroine. Kartini was a pioneer in the area of women’s rights for Indonesians. The group performed using the flutes.
The second group presented a local Sundanese song titled “Abdi Galuh Boneka”, meaning I Have a Doll. This group performed using a traditional music instrument called the Angklung. The angklung is a musical instrument made of two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. Some of the students who performed are having impaired hearing; however they presented the musical concert very well.
After the welcome ceremony, the team headed to the principal’s office for introduction and hearing some explanations about the programs that the school carried out to assists students with special needs. The principal, Mrs. Widyawati Andayani, stated that the school has 537 students, in which 15 of them are students with disabilities. Meanwhile, the number of teachers is very limited, 15 teachers.
According to Mrs. Rinaningsih, a 4th grade teacher, the Community Based Rehabilitation program has been implemented in their school since one year ago. The school works hand in hand with and encouraged the parents of the student with disabilities to support their children in undergoing the therapy at home. This is because currently, the school does not have “shadow” teacher in each class to oversee the special needs students; therefore, parents’ involvements are crucial.
In addition, the school has provided a special room for therapy called the “Stimulation Room”. Here the students undergo therapies from the teacher to help them develop their mental abilities in order to understand their subjects being taught in their normal classes.
One of the students, Hendra Rusmana, 14 years old, who is mentally challenged. Physically he has a normal 14 year old build, but mentally he is like a 7 year-old boy. Hendra lives with his parents and three other siblings (two older sisters and one younger brother) in house located in a narrow alley. At school, he currently learns how to read and write the alphabet. After being assessed by the therapists, Hendra is major strength in swimming. That is why he is going to participate in a swimming competition in November 2013.
Another case we found was the three second graders. The students are Dafa (an autistic boy), Yuli (attention deficit) and Rizal (difficulties is communicating and concentrating). Although the three students have differences with the rest of the class, however, their classmates are very supportive to them. Moreover, the second grade teacher is also very attentive with the three pupils, where he taught them how to sing, dance and write/read poems.
We concluded out trip to the school with another light discussion at the principal’s office. The team shared their expectations to the school and stated that children are the most important people in the world; therefore we need to really focus on giving them the best education and sharing the love of the parents and the people surrounding them.
So, by sharing the love through education, we hope that every child in this world can have the chance to experience what interest them the most, no matter what background of inabilities they have. We also hope that children would gain, and later, pass on their understanding about love and care to other people.