Fitri Goes to School

by | May 31, 2023

Meet Fitri. At the age of 6, Fitri used to walk 8 km every day to reach the nearest school. But now, she doesn’t have to because her new school is just 10 minutes away.


“I love to go to school here and I don’t want to go back to my old school, because it’s too far,” said Fitri. She explains that because her school is now nearby, she has more time to help her mom retrieve water from the well, wash dishes, and take care of her little sister. “My sister is five years old,” she added.

Fitri’s parents are farmers on the Island of Promise, where the landscape of the island consists of thousands of limestone hills that scatter its nomadic people. This fact is one of the reasons why schools and teachers are not readily available in remote villages.

It’s common for small children like Fitri to walk for hours, over hills and across rivers in order to go to school. This is why in 2017, a hub school was started as a center to reach out to children in scattered villages. Now, there are 34 village schools with 84 village teachers serving more than 800 children like Fitri.

“Previously, children arrived at school tired and exhausted from walking. They didn’t have energy to study anymore,” said Mely, Fitri’s teacher. “Many of them had given up and completely stopped coming to school. This is why many of them can’t even read, even though they are school age.”

MSI hub school on the Island of Promise supports village teachers, like Mely, with their teaching skills. “I feel supported and motivated. I receive a lot of training so I can be better at teaching and help my students,” Mely said.

Teacher Ari, MSI site leader on the Island of Promise, said that teacher absenteeism is a constant issue that has plagued government-funded schools. “We can’t wait for the government to solve the problem because these children can’t wait any longer, they keep growing. It’s their right to be educated as soon as possible so they can have better futures,” Ari said. He organizes the locals and, with the help of MSI's Lab School, he gathers all the resources to start building schools and train village teachers. For Ari, training village teachers is crucial in educating children. “A good teacher who is empowered with skills and teaching resources will not only provide children with lessons, but will be able to inspire the children to be their best,” he explained.

For Fitri, her teacher is her inspiration. “I want to be a teacher when I grow up,” she smiles. Her teacher is creative and full of energy. She teaches her numbers by playing games, singing, and dancing. Her teacher also teaches her how to pray. In a prayer she recited together with her friends, she prayed earnestly for God to bless her teachers and the school, and give her the ability to learn so she will be able to reach her dreams.

Instead of reaching school exhausted each day, Fitri is energized and excited to learn. Her classroom is colorful and the yard is bursting with flowers. Thanks to the new school in her village, going to school is something she looks forward to every day.