The Worth of A Child
It was the first day of 7th grade for Erika and she was beyond terrified. She sat by herself in a corner with an intense fear that was clearly reflected in her eyes. As a child with a learning disability, her entire elementary school experience was far from fun. The schools she previously attended didn’t support her exceptional needs and she failed every subject. Since Erika’s parents worked minimum wage jobs, they tried to hide her learning disability as they feared they would incur additional tuition fees. When they were found out, she was refused by several government-funded schools. After exhausting every option they could think of, they heard about a school that would accept children like Erika.
“I have a heart for children like Erika,” said Anton, MSI’s site leader at CI School in Java. “I believe that every child is fearfully and wonderfully made. God created them with hopes and dreams. As educators, we help them to discover their true potential in God.” To further help Erika, CI School offered her a full scholarship through their sponsorship program.
(Anton, left, pictured with CI School's students in front of a flea market that sells handicraft created by children with learning disabilities)
It’s no secret that low income families in Indonesia struggle to access good education, furthermore, Christian education that is categorized as private. Children with disabilities have even more limited options. Anton vividly remembers when a mother came to him and questioned why Christian schools were among the most expensive. “This motivated me to initiate a good quality, affordable Christian school. Since it was founded in 2007, CI School has allocated 60% of its spots for underprivileged children, and we are committed to continue doing this,” Anton said. Currently, CI School serves 350 students from pre-k to 9th grade, 20 of which are children with special educational needs.
(Activities of children with learning disabilities)
CI School provides children with learning and developmental disabilities a safe environment with unique curriculum designed to build their confidence and help them become self-reliant. “Right now, we don’t have enough classrooms to support all of our activities, so we utilize whatever areas that we have, like the schoolyard or garden,” Anton added. “My dream is to open a high school and have a permanent school building with enough classrooms to continue serving these children,” he visualized.
It’s been almost a year since Erika started the program. With the new approach, she is strengthening her math skills and has discovered that she is good with her hands, especially with arts and crafts. When her teacher saw how good Erika was with handicrafting, she asked Erika to be responsible for teaching the other students. With her new role, Erika looks forward to ‘Handicraft Day’ each Monday. Fear no longer fills her eyes as she enters the school gate each morning; instead, her eyes are beaming with hope for the future.
Help children, like Erika, and teachers, like Anton!
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