A FUNDRAISING CONCERT that afternoon was one attempt by Sanggar Anak Akar at reclaiming rights for those in need of a humanistic education. Their existing simple school building in Kalimalang is now occupied with a construction project of new flyover in town hoping to give more space to the ever growing traffic heading in and out of Jakarta. They thus need to move away and grab some new piece of land to hold students consisting of marginalized school-aged children in the megapolitan.
Goodwill is always blessed. Somehow they managed to do it. Various parties poured their supports in any possible form — tangible and intangible — to the social foundation of Anak Akar Indonesia. Several musicians agreed to join the fundraising concert; Bonita and the Hus Band, Ratu Queenous, Marya Genova, Tony Q and Navicula Band were entertaining the entire audience with upbeat, high-spirited songs.
Initiator Susilo Adinegoro, affectionately called “Pakdhe Sus” (pakdhe: ‘big uncle’ in Javanese), extended his gratitude towards Minister of National Education Anis Baswedan, who made it unannounced. An abrupt presence was of course much better than sudden absence, Anis joked. The minister who happened to be wearing a pair of washed-up rather baggy jeans admitted he should have been in Cairo, Egypt, but somehow the arrangement was altered, enabling him to show up to provide support, which he did by taking part actively in the auction of an artwork made by a 10-year-young painter from the school.
Susilo also announced the launch of Sekolah Kampung Urban, a program involving ten social nonprofit communities in Jakarta. “Ten communities in five areas in Jakarta will not build a physical school. Rather, they use what is around them as learning materials. We call it integrative education,” the light-built man argued, redefining education for all of us.
Pakdhe Sus mentioned some social entrepreneurship elements will be involved in the schools. “Today, we’ll begin the program and in December, the participants from 10 communities are to present what they have learned thus far and what to carry out in the upcoming year,” he elaborated.
Being an independent social worker and initiator himself in Indonesia Mengajar (a social and educational movement sending young graduates to teach in the most remote areas in Indonesia), Anis said he was no stranger to what Sanggar Akar Anak did. He emphasized on the importance of being an active doer than a mere dreamer. “Every child is entitled to education access and though the State is constitutionally obliged to provide education for all, morally speaking each and every one of us who is educated is required to educate other Indonesians.”
It could be the first time I saw a public official getting down to earth and speaking out of real experience instead of boring rethorics and cliche mostly because he had been in the shoes of others and identified the similar roots and hence similarity of visions. That indicated some progress in Indonesia’s education, at least for me.