Written by Project Child Indonesia
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has disproportionately affected marginalized communities in Indonesia. After the spread of the virus was officially announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Indonesian government conducted a policy about changing the offline learning system in school into distance learning. However, the unequally distributed access to education, forcing the children of the urban poor to encounter hardship in receiving their academic needs. As an example, the marginalized groups in our Sekolah Sungai communities on the banks of Code River, Winongo River, and Gajah Wong River, Yogyakarta, whose general occupations are sellers, laborers, housewives, security guards, freelancers, ride-hailing drivers, and scavengers, it is a struggle for them to facilitate a conducive learning environment for their children. The at-home learning constraints are due to the low either no preparedness of students, teachers, and parents for distance learning, limited internet access, and computer ownership (according to data from Statistics Indonesia 2019, computer ownership in Indonesia at the household level is 20.05% and internet coverage is 66.22%).
Other than parents struggling to afford the gadget facilities and internet data packages purchase, parents are facing issues to provide supervision and guidance to support distance learning. Truth is, not all parents have the privilege to provide such learning assistance, both in terms of time and skills, and this has been proven by testimonials through our research on the field. A testimonial coming from Lani, a 4th-grade elementary school student who lives on the banks of the Gajahwong River, “My mom is busy working and taking care of my little sister, she is barely available to accompany me studying. My dad works all the time too.” Another supporting statement coming from the father of Meisya, a 4th-grade elementary school student in Kampung Jetisharjo, by the Code River, “I cannot teach my child because elementary school materials these days are more difficult, different to mine years ago. I also work all day long, so there is very little time to assist my daughter when studying.” Moreover, teachers from formal schools provide assignments for distance learning, but not necessarily equipped to explain the subject materials to children. With a pupil-teacher ratio of 12.68, parental guidance is necessary.
Reflecting on the presented reality and based on the socio-economic analysis, Project Child Indonesia initiated the Online Learning Assistance project to help ease the challenges of children and parents to comprise education concern on children of the vulnerable communities in three riverbank communities of Yogyakarta City, Indonesia that are hit the most.
Project Child Indonesia through the Online Learning Assistance provides online and offline tutor sessions by our volunteers to children in our Sekolah Sungai communities to help them do their school tasks and understand the school material better. Project Child Indonesia has collaborated with one of the internet data providers in Indonesia to provide affordable internet data quota to support the online learning activities of the children as well as launched a gadget donation campaign to support the online learning process. The project wants to ensure the well-being of the community especially the children amid the pandemic and the project is a form of adjustment of our main program, Sekolah Sungai, to overcome the COVID-19 struggle and uncertainty.
This year, the Online Learning Assistance project has been completed and conducted a total of 21 online and offline classes in three Sekolah Sungai communities in Code River, Winongo River, and Gajah Wong River. It has helped more than 80 children, 14 volunteers, and 3 (three) interns for three months of September, October, and November 2020. Thank you for the great help and support of our collaborators to make this project a reality. In 2021, we will continue to support the children in the river communities through this project and will be very glad to be able to cooperate with everyone who wants to support our cause.