Nurrohim, founder Sekolah Master, a free school for marginal people

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Some students and a teacher are taking a selfie in front of the school. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

IO – Living in the streets, cultivating sen­sitivity and empathy for the poor, Nur­rohim who comes from a wealthy fam­ily has experienced living an unusual life. Delinquency in his youth became a learning for him. In 2000, he decided to build an Indonesian Sekolah Master. This is a free school for the marginal, ranging from scavengers, hawkers and singers.

Pioneering
Narrated by Nurrohim, the begin­ning he founded the Indonesian Seko­lah Master, because of his concerns to see school-aged children who are unable to attend school. ‘The background of the building Sekolah Master is because of our concern. Depok is known as a city of education, commerce, a religiously nuanced settlement. We see University of Indonesia is in Depok. This makes my heart sad, an educational city but there are many school age children who can not go to school and drop out of school, “explained the man who was born in Te­gal, Central Java.

Nurrohim continued to see such a situation, he, with several teenage mosques and student activists, initiat­ed an alternative education for margin­al society. “There are many children of street musicians, caregivers, scaven­gers at school ages. they want to go to school , but the hey have to face some constraint. It is imposible for them to go to formal school, so we set an informal school,’he said.

Having a strong desire for these mar­ginal children to go to school, Nurrohim began collecting these poor children to be taught. Over time, Nurrohim realizes that these children need a special place so they can learn better. “So we ask per­mission at the mosque’s embankment in the bus terminal because the mosque as a special and general facilities of Depok city’, he said.Because studying near the mosque and located in the terminal, the learning group is then called the Master School (Masjid Terminal.) “So initially there, the uterus of our activities,” he said.

When he started setting up the Mas­ter School in 2000, there were 20-30 children who came to study. Each week the number of students who came to learn increased. It took him 2 years until the establishment of the Master School of Indonesia. So the pre-school was for 2 years old kid. we created the communi­ty. After that we divided the community from elementary to junior high school while we were waiting for the teachers. In 2002, we established elementary school, then junior high school in 2003, and fi­nally senior high in2004, “he said.

When the new Indonesian Master School was established, within 3 weeks the learning process lasts only 3 days. At that time, the marginal children who were taught only the street singers, hawkers, and scavengers. Currently the marginal people who are studying in the Master School are increasingly diverse. “Now we already add street children, abandoned children, children with spe­cial needs, and children who are faced with the law,” he said.

Usually they start to school, after a ‘social’ activity. “After approaching 10 o’clock it starts to heat, at the time while we relaxed chatting. Their mindset is open, they think they have to change their destiny, and the change begins with education. They have hope, dreams, ideals for the next 5 years. It means they already have hope and dream. Well, it is our duties to accompany and bridge them to the stakeholders. We are aware of the limitations of both science and fi­nance, so we made the issue together. That education is our problem. If these abandoned children are not well-edu­cated and worthy, they will be a burden to the state, the government. Therefore, they must be given life provision, con­structed from the side of character, mor­als, and must be equipped with skills, “he explained at length.

Over time, the volunteers have to ad­just, and explore what these marginal children desire. “We have to take a spe­cial approach, they fell comfortable first. So we set up in places to hang out, so the community come here to play music, and sports. which is important is they appreciate us. So this place is not for getting drunk, take drugs, but to rest, “he said.

What they need most is shelter. “Which community will accept them with all the limitations so that they are unrecognized, and not becoming strang­ers in their own country. They are reviled, scorned, pouted, even accused of criminals. I see them as victims. Victim of helplessness of their family in fulfill­ing basic needs. The people should care and the country is present; they are also victims of the country’s system as well. So we can not blame the children com­pletely. The state will one day experience a social disaster, if these people become hooligan and vengeful. They will make trouble everywhere, “he explained.

The children of marginalized people are not only taught school subjects, but they are also given information and motivation. “Approach like coun­seling guidance, so they have more to motivation, insight, and more to the enrichment of information. You can see these rights. So we are bridging to realize their dreams, hope, “said the man who likes to read.

The model of education at the Se­kolah Master differs from that of oth­er public schools. Nurrohim and his friends create a school program based on need. “So the curriculum here is a model of special education schools and special services. You could say educa­tion for all so model. Everyone can go to school from children to those who have children. So if we want to make a program, we discuss, we give a ques­tionnaire. there are choices. the most importantly, we give priority. Minimum curriculum based on needs (CBC). The task of volunteers is how to be a friend, and also a motivator,to inspire learners and explore their potential. Everyone has different intelligence. Well we try these advantages, we launch, then we group, “he said. ­

The main values of life are taught to these marginal children. “At least they are comfortable with the good, that liv­ing with good people are comfortable, so they can have good behaviour on the road, have ethics. Even if they want to get money from people on streets, they do not in a state of drunkenness and do not carry a sharp weapon. How we teach that they have a taste, although poor but high caring, meaning to help people do not have to do with money. When people want to cross, or people carry heavy they should assist’,he said.

As the Founder of Sekolah Master, Nurrohim highly prioritizes character and skill education. “So although they are the poor, but they are healthy, also smart, so productive, can be empow­ered, and skillful so that when they enter the workplace, they have a diplo­ma, good morality, and can compete with others. If they want to be entre­preneurs, they already have the skills. We empower them. With this education we can break the chain of poverty and deterioration, that’s what we expect, “he explained.

Currently the Sekolah Master has a program of one family, one undergrad­uate. “Because this education can lift dignity, and the degree of family, so that they are not humiliated again. We want to improve the marginal society, our hope is to alleviate poverty’,he said.

What makes the Sekolah Master of Indonesia special is that anyone who goes to school here is free. “All is free, but also pay use DUIT, Doa, Usaha, Ikhtiar, and Tawakal (Prayer, Business, Faith Resigned )’, said Nurrohim.

(Dessy Aipipidely)