The Jakarta Post - Magazine - - Education -

School­child­ren need to help oth­ers in or­der to be­come well-rounded hu­man be­ings.

In fact, so­ci­ety un­wit­tingly does its best to keep them from be­com­ing fully self-ac­tu­al­ized by not al­low­ing enough time in the school day for true com­mu­nity ser­vice. Kurt Hahn, founder of Out­ward Bound, Ger­many’s SchuleSchloss Salem, Scot­land’s Gor­don­stoun School, the United World Col­leges and the Duke of Ed­in­burgh’s award, is con­sid­ered one of the finest ed­u­ca­tors of the 20th cen­tury.

Wikipedia writes that his “ed­u­ca­tional phi­los­o­phy was based on re­spect for ado­les­cents, whom he be­lieved to pos­sess an in­nate de­cency and moral sense, but who were, he be­lieved, cor­rupted by so­ci­ety as they aged”.

He pro­fessed that ado­les­cents had an ur­gent need to help the less for­tu­nate. “We are crew, not pas­sen­gers. Stu­dents and teach­ers are strength­ened by acts of con­se­quen­tial ser­vice to oth­ers, and […] school’s pri­mary func­tion is to pre­pare stu­dents with the at­ti­tudes and skills to learn from and be of ser­vice to oth­ers,” wrote Hahn.

In this vein, some schools do in­sist that stu­dents need to work on ser­vice-learn­ing projects that sup­port Hahn’s phi­los­o­phy. One fine ex­am­ple of ser­vice-learn­ing in In­done­sia and else­where around the world is Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity™. This non-profit NGO cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents, staff and par­ents to work to­gether in build­ing homes for the home­less and pro­vid­ing dis­as­ter re­lief for the dis­placed. Many peo­ple around the world are work­ing to help Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity reach out to the poor and un­for­tu­nate.

“Habi­tat has suc­cess­fully re­moved the stigma of char­ity by sub­sti­tut­ing it with a sense of part­ner­ship. The peo­ple who will live in the homes work side-by-side with the vol­un­teers, so they feel very much that they are on an equal level,” said former

US pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter, ac­cord­ing to


For ex­am­ple, stu­dents at the North Jakarta In­ter­cul­tural School in Ke­lapa Gad­ing were ac­tively in­volved in help­ing build houses for 10 fam­i­lies in need last year and the goal has been dou­bled to twenty homes for this school year be­gin­ning in Novem­ber.

The stu­dents are able to as­sist Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity in the ac­tual build­ing process as well as in fund-rais­ing, along with gen­er­ous as­sis­tance from the par­ent non-profit group that sup­ports the NJIS com­mu­nity, Yayasan Agung Podomoro Land in Jakarta. Not only are fund-rais­ing and build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties planned, but mu­sic and ed­u­ca­tion projects are also in the works.

Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity In­done­sia se­nior ma­jor gifts man­ager Lus­man Yu­narto has gra­ciously in­vited Vanessa TM, a ma­jor record­ing artist from In­done­sia, to visit NJIS and many other schools in In­done­sia. This free out­reach by Vanessa has helped schools get the word out in com­pelling and en­ter­tain­ing ways, with her free con­certs, videos and mo­ti­va­tional speeches all sup­port­ing the no­tion that peo­ple need help – help that can be pro­vided by Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity.


Ser­vice learn­ing is a pil­lar of ex­cel­lent ed­u­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to ed­u­ca­tional ex­perts and world lead­ers. In­done­sia of­fers many op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to give their time and resources to the less for­tu­nate. Schools have a duty to find the time in their busy sched­ules for sup­port­ing such im­por­tant ini­tia­tives.

Ask your child’s teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors how they can help sup­port ser­vice learn­ing for the sake of the less for­tu­nate as well as for the sake of their own chil­dren’s in­tel­lec­tual and moral de­vel­op­ment.

Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity is only one way for stu­dents to prac­tice ser­vice learn­ing. There are count­less other ways to serve oth­ers as a school com­mu­nity. Noted environmentalist and author Jane Goodall is the founder of Roots and Shoots™, an out­reach pro­gram that “be­gan in 1991 with a group of 12 stu­dents in Tan­za­nia who were con­cerned about their en­vi­ron­ment. Since then, we have grown to over 150,000 mem­bers in 130 coun­tries!” ac­cord­ing to root­sand­

UNICEF is a ma­jor ser­vice-learn­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion that helps pro­tects the hu­man rights of all chil­dren from around the world, ac­cord­ing to Closer to home is the Hoshi­zora Foundation™, based in In­done­sia. Hoshi­zora Foundation is “a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing an equal op­por­tu­nity for all In­done­sian chil­dren to at­tain a proper ed­u­ca­tion,” ac­cord­ing to face­ hos hi Z ora. Foundation.

Stu­dents at NJIS and other schools in In­done­sia raise and do­nate funds di­rectly to sup­port schol­ar­ships for less for­tu­nate stu­dents to at­tend schools – a re­ward­ing process for all in­volved.

Whether stu­dents work with ma­jor multi­na­tional char­i­ta­ble in­sti­tu­tions, na­tional foun­da­tions or with the folks next door, ser­vice learn­ing is one of the ways stu­dents be­come global cit­i­zens with a com­mit­ment to help­ing oth­ers. Isn’t it time all stu­dents did so? ( Dr. Jorge Nel­son)

Cour­tesy of NJIS

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