A Week That Changes Your Life

By Anisa Ornella Octaviana, Voluntoursit at IHF Jakarta center

Winter holiday in my penultimate year of university seems to be the best period to spend doing volunteering activity in the IHF Jakarta centre. I came to the centre on the 2nd of July in the morning, where the lovely Tess and one of Carol’s daughters, Rakhma, greeted me warmly. Shortly upon my arrival, four other volunteers came to the centre from Mainland China, and they also spend 2 weeks at the centre. We have become great pals.

UntitledAt first, I was struggling to find my own teaching method, but Ayu and Ade were really patient and showed me how to do my tasks. Since I’m the only volunteer from Indonesia and therefore I am able to speak the native language, I was assigned to teach math and computer classes. I was really surprised with how much these children are willing to study and explore their creativity. They are enthusiastic, although they were shy at the start as I was their new teacher. Now, they don’t hesitate to ask me any questions.

Untitled2Every evening, we spend time playing with the kids that live in the centre. We play hide & seek, blindfold, and the most popular one, UNO. When we play UNO our rule is, for those who lose the game they will get powder mark on their face. It was hilarious. People had a lot white marks on their face by the end of the game. We laughed all night playing cards. I had so much fun.


Thanks to all the staff and volunteers who helped me in organising our center bookshelves. Through arranging  Indonesian and English textbooks, we now have a pretty library.


At the end of the week, we held the “Pass It On” ceremony, which allowed students to obtain their results from IHF and get a class certificate based for top ranked students in our classes. Afterwards, we have a celebration with a lot of popsicles, popcorn, games and of course, prizes for the winners.

I have to say, I have only just realized the types of moments that I’ve been missing out on for the last 15 years that I have lived in Jakarta. Apart from the city lifestyle, it turns out there are many kids, which still need our attention and care. Surprisingly, these kids have inspired me to start a new chapter and shift my point of view of life in a really good way. Their smiles, enthusiasm and ideas encourage us to face any problems with joy – no matter what.


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