HELPING OTHERS MAKES FOR HAPPY PUPILS
SERVICE LEARNING IS A KEY ELEMENT TO A LIBERAL ARTS EDUCATION WHERE PUPILS FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES BY REACHING OUT TO OTHERS.
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.
COMMITMENT TO HELPING OTHERS
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 rootsandshoots.org.
UNICEF is a major service-learning organization that helps protects the human rights of all children from around the world, according to unicef.org. 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 facebook.com/ 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)