For as long as 11-year old Cicilia* (everyone calls her Lia) can remember it had always been her and her grandmother, Mrs. Yati. She never met her father and her mother left to remarry and now has a family of her own

Mr. Fazil is a social worker, one of our Teman Baik (Friends-International Indonesia) #everydayheroes. He regularly visits the village in Jakarta, Indonesia where Lia and her grandmother live. He noticed Lia was always at home.

After asking around and investigating some more, he confirmed that Lia was not going to school. In fact she had not been to school for 5 years.

He arranged a meeting with Mrs. Yati and learned that she was very reluctant to send Lia there for various reasons. Firstly, she worried that school would cause Lia too much fatigue and make her ill. She also argued that Lia did not need to go to public school. By this time, Lia should have been in 2nd Grade already.  

Mrs. Yati had doubts about going to a public school, arguing about the quality of facilities and education. She said that if one day she had more money, she planned sending Lia to private schools with better facilities. When asked if she wanted to go to school, Lia replied in a heartbeat, ‘’Yes, I want to go to school like my other friends, but that is, if allowed by [my] grandmother…’ She also wanted to learn how to read and write. At that time, she did not know how to do either.

For over a year, the Friends’ team carried out two simultaneous actions to enable Lia to go back to school. First, including her in Non-Formal Education (NFE) activities to ensure a smooth transition and build on her motivation to go back to school. The second was to regularly visit Mrs. Yati to talk to her about the benefits of education for Lia’s future and well-being. In May 2020, social workers were asked for help by Mrs. Yati to enroll her granddaughter in elementary school.

stock photo Friends-International

It took two years of constant visits by Fazil to Mrs. Yati for her to finally be convinced that sending Lia to school was the right thing to do, as it is every child’s right to have a good education. Kudos to this one of our #EverydayHeroes for not giving up and finally succeeding in giving Lia a better chance of building a good future!

*Name changed for privacy