Jakarta, IO – Kartini Emergency School, founded by twin teachers Sri “Rian” Irianingsih and Sri “Rossy” Rossyati is no stranger to Indonesia’s education scene. They have devoted 33 years of their life disseminating knowledge to marginalized children living a harsh life in the capital.
In 1990, Rossy and Rian became concerned about the wellbeing of the children, who lived under bridges and collected trash to survive on a daily basis. Their parents, living hand to mouth, could not afford to send them to school like the other children.
At first, Rossy and Rian started visiting their makeshift shelter and providing them with food. They then decided to help teach the children basic literacy so that they would not live on the street forever and could have a much better future.
They established the so-called “emergency school” under the flyover which has continued to grow ever since. By early 2000s, there were already five schools with a capacity of up to 3,000 students from kindergarten to high school levels.
The journey was never a walk in the park, to say the least. The schools were repeatedly evicted, leaving just two still standing today, one in Kelapa Gading and one in Ancol. In addition to free education, the Rossy and Rian also provided all the equipment and paraphernalia, from uniforms to textbooks. They even feed the children with nutritious food. They do all these voluntarily using their personal money and not rely on third-party donations.
“By educating them, we equip them with life skills so they don’t have to continue living on the streets and eating leftover food,” said Rossy.