Positive Momentum at IHF Jakarta

By: Gabby, Co-Director IHF Jakarta

037Some new introductions are in order for us here at IHF Jakarta. As volunteers progress in their lives and careers, changes must be made. Though we are always sad to see our local volunteers move on, we support them wholeheartedly in their future endeavors.

We were happy to officially take on a new math teacher for our SD 1 and 2 classes this week! Ario, who had been majoring in education at university, will take on the classes. Though we are sad to see Innes go, we are happy to have Ario, who has already been a major hit among our students.

In addition, we welcome our new SMA teacher, Vidhi. Vidih is a teacher at one of the international schools in Jakarta. Originally from India, she has her masters in English literature, and is already making positive impacts and connections with our older students! She takes time and care in her class preparation, and it shows in how smoothly her classes progress. She is definitely an asset to our team, and we greatly appreciate her work with s so far!

Katarina, who is a professor of design 013at a college in Jakarta, has taken on the role as art educator for our older students. Our students have a great passion for art and drawing, and to have this course taught by a true professional is a real gift. Not only does Katarina have an infectious positive attitude, she is a self-starter, innovative, and passionate about the impact art education can have on our student’s overall well-being.

Lastly, Anza, who had been teaching our Aflatoun class on Thursdays, has transitioned to teaching our morning Maths classes instead, as she has gotten a part-time position teaching accounting at a non-traditional education center. We are proud of her achievement, and are glad she has found a way to maintain her connection with us here at IHF.

023We would like to give out a sincere thank you to all of our past and present local volunteers who make IHF’s programs possible. Without you, IHF Jakarta could not exist at its fullest capacity, providing supplementary education to our ~250 registered students.

Impressive Experience in Medan

By: Ma & Yang, UNNC Voluntourists MedanMedan 5

This week we have spent great time in Medan. Initially, we were taught Indonesian by local senior school students and we learned some fundamental expressions like greetings and numbers. It is kind of similar to English, and therefore it is not difficult to master. The local students were quite patient and friendly. After that, we played UNO together and had a fantastic time. Though we knew little Indonesian, they made us feel at home.

medan1On Wednesday this week, we taught Chinese in the evening. During class, we taught Chinese characters and pronunciation in terms of numbers and furniture. It seemed that characters were much more difficult for them to remember. After all, pictographic characters differ a lot from letters. What moved us the most was that all of them concentrated on the board seriously and some of them were even taking notes. We are sure that as long as they have more opportunities for education and to connect with people from different cultures, they will cherish and grab them. At the end of the class, we sang a song created by IHF with them. It is a beautiful song and one sentence in the lyrics is impressive: “We can pass it on.” We hope that they can pass it on whether it is sunny or rainy. We also hope that more people will see them, and want to help. Medan 3

On Thursday Sahat took us to buy the things we need to design a new poster. So in the afternoon we finished new posters and replaced the old one. I hope that these kids will like it and it can really help them, even though my drawing was not so good. The new poster contains rules of the center, rights for the kids, class schedule and a fire escape map. All of the things mentioned above should be realized and known — especially their rights.

Medan 4We also handed out leaflets to invite more children who are in poverty and have little access to education to join IHF. We walked a few streets near the center, and it looked like that there were quite a lot of families suffering poverty in this area. We hope that more children will join IHF center in Medan.

This is the end of our experience as volunteers in Medan. Two weeks is quite short, but this period has been quite unforgettable and unique. Thanks to Sahat, Aditi, housemother, other volunteers and all of the kids here for making us have such a wonderful trip.

We wish them a bright future, just as the song goes, “we can pass it on.”

Nakuru’s Family Grows


By: Edita, Co-Director NakuruIMG_0832

My name is Edita, I am a Co-Director at the IHF Nakuru centre in Kenya. I originally come from Lithuania, but for the last three years I have been living in different European countries due to studies and work. It has been only two weeks since I became part of IHF team at the Nakuru centre. These two weeks were full of new experiences, small cultural shocks and a lot of positive emotions.

WP_20160114_18_16_28_Pro (1)It is my first time living and  traveling outside  Europe. Therefore many things are totally new for me. I am happy to have daily cultural exchanges with the children living in our centre. They also help me learn some basic words in their local Kiswahili language, and in return I help them with their homework.

Working here in the centre is like being part of a big family were everyone tries to help each other and 20160117_174453to learn from each other. I myself learn something new everyday from these children and  I am inspired by their enthusiasm and dedication to studies. I hope that during my stay here I will manage to inspire them and contribute to them achieving their goals.

The Aceh Experience

aasfaghEdfgbdzfBy: Frank 施可强, Voluntourist Aceh

It has been one week since I arrived in Banda Aceh, so everything is still really interesting to me. I’ll never forget my excitement when I saw the splendid Islamic dome of the Banda Aceh Airport. But after first week’s exploration, I have to say the sight of Banda Ache is really beyond my imagination. Almost all of the buildings here are only one or two stories high and you don’t see any tall buildings even in the city center.

Local people in Banda Aceh are really friendly to us. We met Dewi on Tuesday night and she was so enthusiastic about helping us get familiar with this tggfdsunique city. She took us to Aceh’s tsunami museum, Pasar Aceh and many other interesting scenic spots. What’s more, she took us with her friends to go to a famous coffee shop at night, and let us enjoy ourselves there. We all really appreciate her. She showed us the beauty of this unique city, like Acehnese coffee with egg in it and Acehnese the wedding dresses and suits. It all made me really excited. There are also many Acehnese helping us teach the kids at the center. They are all really nice people, and we have learned many Indonesian words and even a little 34rtgswerfAcehnese dialect from them.

The Directors of the center, Emma and Vlad, are really kind to us. They have taught me a lot about both living and teaching, which helped me to get through my first week’s classes smoothly. I’ve never tried teaching like this before, so it is really a big challenge for me. I’m very glad to see my improvements every day, but I still have so many aspects which need to be improved. The kids at the center are all really adorable. I even have found some similarities in how they behave and how I did when I was their age.

All in all, this is really an exciting experience, and I can’t wait to start next week’s adventure!

Thailand through New Eyes

By: Desai, Voluntourist Chiang Rai

Exactly one year ago, I was hanging around in Bangkok, visiting the Grand Palace, going to a performance, and tasting Thai food. These memories make up the picture of Thailand in my mind. However, no one Jan19IHFplace represents the whole country, and even Bangkok cannot tell the story of Thailand alone. This year I came to Chiang Rai, which impresses me with its special style that is a lot different from the southern part of Thailand.

Surrounded by large pieces of green, the IHF Chiang Rai center is like a small cottage. Compared to Bangkok, life here is more simple and peaceful. Generally, we spent some time on the volunteer work and in our spare time, we walked around the streets Jan20centernearby and took some short trips around the city.

This week, we received the arrival training, cleaned the house together and on Friday, we made dumplings for the children. Dumplings are Chinese traditional food. It is really an interesting and meaningful experience for us to make dumplings in a foreign country. We were glad that everybody liked them.

We Jan20夜市also went to the night bazaar with center director and another volunteer. It was a nice place to taste some local food and buy souvenirs.

On our day off, we took a one day trip to the golden triangle and visited the White Temple as well as Black House, which are two famous scenic spots in Chiang Rai. The White Temple is amazing and quite different from what we expected. It is more like an artwork than a temple.Personally, I have enjoyed my days at the IHF Chiang Rai center very much so far.

The IHF Song


By: Jenifer, Local volunteer IHF Medan

I was watching television commercial when I noticed that most of them have their own jingles, like coca cola and KFC. Then I just suddenly got this random thought, “Hey, IHF should have their own jingle, too!”, because music is a powerful way to bring people together. When we sing together, we become closer, and it feels like we are one family. Also, the students here pronounce English very well when they sing, but they are shy wCarl with childrenhen it comes to conversation. So I thought maybe the song can help improve their English.

Since this week it was my turn to do the special activity,  I decided to write a song for IHF and make the students sing it. I was lucky that we were visited by a volunteer from the Philippines, Ms.Carl Binondo. She knows how to play the guitar and she is good at singing. So I asked her if she would help me with the song, since I really struggled with writing the lyrics. Ms.Carl is amazing, most of the lyrics were written by her, and she also helped me figure out the chord progression of the song.

The song is about the children of IHF. They’re here to learn, they’re here to grow, and they all look so happy to be here. These are some of the reasons why I fell in love with these kids. I just thought they deserve a song dedicated to them.

The special activity turned out well. Ms.Carl sang IHF Songa couple songs with the guitar and the kids sang along with us. I played the keyboard and one the senior students played the acoustic shaker. I was really touched when I heard all of these children singing together in harmony, it sounded so peaceful. That was one of the best moments I have had at IHF.

This week has been a truly amazing week. We had so much laughter and joy, thanks to Ms.Carl. Even though she spent just a little time here, but she had made a huge impact in our center. She bought a guitar and a shaker along with some grammar books for the center. She has an amazing personality, and she is one of the very few kind-hearted people I have ever known. We just know we are going to miss her so much and we are looking forward to seeing her again in the near future.

We love you, Ms.Carl, from IHF Medan.

A Sponsor Visits: a Busy Week for Jakarta

By: Gabby, Co-Director Jakarta

IMG_4994This week was busy here in Jakarta as always! Along with classes and special activities, we had a visit from one of our sponsors and held a meeting for our teachers.

Lenko and Renta are sponsors for two of our children here in Jakarta: Putri and Ica. Putri and Ica are our house mother’s daughters.

This past week, Lenko and Renta were able to visit our center and get some face time with their sponsored children! In order to have a visit with their sponsor children, they had to contact our sponsor processing team. This is done to ensure the sponsors and and Co-Directors at the center have a clear understanding of the time in which the visits will take place, and what is to be expected.

The visit was a great moment for us all. At times like these, the connections between sponsors and children strengthen, and we can see the friendship between the two grow.

In addition to this excitement, IMG_4986we had two special activities. With our SD students, we made treasure chests. Though the activity ended up being a lot more difficult than anticipated, the children left very proud of their creations! Us teachers were pretty worn out by the end of it all, but it was worth it to see the joy upon their faces. With our SMA students, we ran a drawing class with our newest volunteer–a proper art teacher! It was great, and the students had a lot of fun. They always love drawing, and to be able to give them more tools in their creative toolbox is always

Saturday was also an incredibly busy day. We had IMG_4992a meeting with all of our teachers to go over information about IHF and review classroom procedures. The meeting went well, and we got a few laughs from our modeling activity where we discussed various outlandish (but all true!) class behavior scenarios. As anyone who has spent time teaching would know, classroom control is half the battle when trying to engage students to learn. We hope that by discussing classroom management strategies, we and our teachers can grow as educators at IHF.

Reflections on Sponsorship

By: Alice, Co-Director BaliJpeg

The TEP sponsorship program we have at IHF plays a very special part at all of our centers. This program allows us to provide the financial support many of our students need in order to attend school and complete their education.

Many of our students live in poverty, which means that without the sponsorship money they receive they are unable to afford school fees, uniforms, supplies and transport to school. Co-directors like myself are lucky enough to see the impact that this small monthly donation has first hand, and the ultimate outcome: children who are able to stay in school while also getting extra help and support at our centers.

At all our centers we currently have children in our sponsorship program without sponsors. This means that they do not receive the financial support they need and are struggling to complete their education.

JpegAt IHF we have many payment options that can allow you to sponsor a child short or long term, depending on your budget. The sponsored students often build great relationships with their sponsors as they send a letter to them every month, telling their sponsor about their life. Sponsors often choose to respond with their own letters and form great friendships with their sponsored students. Sponsors are even able to organise with IHF to meet their sponsored students in real life and see first-hand how beneficial the monthly payments have been to them.

Providing our children with sponsorship  is an incredibly rewarding experience for sponsors, makes a real difference in their lives, and gives the student the potential to build a brighter future.

Cultural Lessons and a Wedding!

By: David, Co-Director Aceh

IMG_0490In the United States, we tend to think of the holiday season as a time of fervor and activity. Decorations get put up, towns and cities organize ceremonious displays, and the populace gets infected with the “holiday spirit.” We even associate the time with dramatic weather in the form of snowfalls blanketing the landscape. It’s an idyllic, idealized time.

In Banda Aceh, about the only similarity is the time of year. Indeed, Christmas and New Years’ celebrations have been rendered illicit. Celebrations are confined to the city’s mosques, which is where the Acehnese who don’t voyage south and east to their families’ villages display their devotion and piety. IMG_0469On New Years’ Eve, the city is under lock and key by 11:00pm.

However there is one other similarity, one that’s a little more relevant to IHF’s daily concerns. Kids stop going to school. We had at most a handful of students at any given time, but that meant they got lots of face time with Vlad and myself. Some days it was 4v4 football, and on others it was checkers and chess. It’s always nice to get to know students better who aren’t in your classes or are but might be a little shy. They certainly enjoyed having their run of the place.

IMG_0467The cultural lessons continued during the weekend as we attended our first Acehnese wedding. Andi, one of our lovely local volunteers, was kind enough to invite the whole IHF family to his special day. Between the extravagant decorations and traditional dress, the event was a stunning visual affair appropriate for the momentous occasion. We were incredibly grateful to have been able to share in the experience, and we wish Andi a lifetime of happiness.

The New Year Brings Nakuru Good News

By: Aggie, Co-Director Nakuru

My name is Aggie and I have been aWP_20160102_16_33_11_Pro Co-Director at our Nakuru Centre for 2 months already. It is unbelievable how the time flies here!

Last week schools in Kenya re-opened, so our Nakuru home started to be very busy and full of people again. The kids who went to Pokot to see their relatives over Christmas finally get back to us and started getting ready for school. It`s a bit of a mission here at the centre to organize everyone`s books, school accessories, and uniforms. Somewhere in between one shopping and another  we managed to find time for a movie or playing games to cheer up all those kids who were, let`s say,not necessarily excited about going to school again.

WP_20160106_16_00_32_ProLast week we were also given some very good news! Two of our boys got a great opportunity and were transferred to a good boarding school just outside of town! I was so proud and excited for them: just as if I was the one getting such a great opportunity to study!

In other good news, we received the funds for the higher education of one of our Assistant Co-Directors who will start agriculture courses later on this year. We are all so happy. The beginning of this New Year has been very generous to us. Fingers crossed for more success!