“Twinkle twinkle little star”

Bintang studying for exam -by Caroline Thadate
Bintang studying for exam -by Caroline Thadate


Meet my new friend, his name is Bintang Putra Anugrah. He is 12 years old, and now in Junior High School. Recently he joined a special school for children with disabilities (Sekolah Luar Biasa) in Bandung, West Java. Before that, he went to a regular public school, until 2010. His condition of Cerebral Palsy became worst. He started losing ability of his lower body, and is now unable to walk.

His family decided that it is best to enroll Bintang in private school for children with special needs, in this school each teacher is responsible for 4 students, while in regular schools, each teacher is responsible for 30-40 students.

At first, he refused to go to the special school, since all of his friends were in public school. But this August, during the local school competition, he won the first place for fast reading competition, which gave Bintang a spirit-booster and confidence. He is now very excited to go to his new school every day. Every morning, Bintang and his mother, Ami go to school with a motorcycle. I can only imagine the trouble they have to go through given Bintang’s condition. The mother then said: “As long as he’s healthy, whatever he needs, wherever he wants to go, I will definitely make it happen.”

Bintang has a father who works in a logistic department in the hospitality
industry, while the mother stays at home taking care of Bintang, and he has a younger brother named Bagas. Bagas is 4 years old, and is actively interacting with his older brother. Bintang’s family share the house, with 2 other families, including their grandmother. The father earned 2 million rupiah/month, equals to USD 200.

When we arrived, Bintang was preparing for his exam. His favorite subject is biology, and anything else to do with reading. They recently found out Bintang’s new interest in the computer; however it is difficult for him to go to public places to access a computer. “I saved some money each month, so I could buy Bintang a netbook, that way he could access the computer every day”, says Ami.

I then asked Bintang, what does he would like to be when he grows up. “I want to be a pilot”, he said. At first, I thought it was normal for children his age wanting to be a pilot. But then, when I was tying my shoes outside, I heard a loud noise coming from an airplane. It turns out that the area is very near to the airport, and that often Bintang hears these airplanes passing by. Despite of his condition, it never stops him to dream big.

And as the saying goes, never be afraid to dream big dreams.

Ami, Bintang, Tika from Save the Children, and myself - by Caroline Thadate
Ami, Bintang, Tika from Save the Children, and myself – by Caroline Thadate

In Javanese culture, they believe that a name is a prayer. Bintang Putra Anugrah, the name says it all: Bintang in English means Star, Putra is Son, and Anugrah is a gift from God.

We finally said our goodbye to the family. The mother shook our hands, feeling grateful and with tears in her eyes, she asked us to always pray for Bintang. A simple request, yet a promise I keep to myself. When we left it was raining outside, but our heart still warm with overwhelming love.

Twinkle twinkle little stars, how I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.