Making a difference in Medan

by Phoebe, Voluntourist, IHF Medan

Along with two other girls, I arrived at the Medan airport on June after a one-day flight. And we met our Directors, Rafa and Astrid. Both of them were very kind and willing to help. With excitement and nervousness, we eventually reached the Medan Center . The facilities in the Center are much better than I expected, which include computers and air conditioning. Thank you posters can be seen everywhere. After settling down, Astrid introduced the Center to us. We got to know that children only have classes in the evening and that that week was exam week.

Our mission started from the next day. I filled forms for the TEP program, which is an educational program that helps poor children to get aid from sponsors. I was shocked when I was typing the children’s information. Some families only earn Rp. 500.000 per month and some kids lost their father. It was the first time I felt I was so close to poverty. That reminds me of a phrase on the IHF Center’s board: ‘help the poorest from the poor’. I was determined to make a difference.

We also helped to distribute the exams in the evening, and I read the listening questions to the students. The kids are very shy but friendly.

On the third day, there was a power failure during the exam, but the kids seemed used to this and continued their work under a small light. I was moved by this sight. After the exam, I talked to the local teacher and learned more about the Muslim culture.

The classes lasted from Monday to Thursday, and Thursday was still an exam day. I also drew a Thank you poster and put it up. By then, we started to be familiar with the girls here. We played UNO cards and told them things about China.

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We also went to a local market with Rafa and Astrid to buy some gifts for the children. Things there were very cheap. We chose different gifts for the kids in the different grades, and wrapped them up.

Finally, we tidied the bookshelf. We classified the books and cleaned the bookshelf. And then, we led the kids to go to sing karaoke with Astrid. The kids were very happy there.

Now it’s time to say goodbye. I will definitely miss everything here. I’d like to say thank you Astrid and Rafa, thank you for your help and support. I couldn’t have done anything without your guidance. I will miss the cute girls here and I hope that all their dreams come true. Maybe two weeks is too short to make a real difference. What we can do for the children is broaden their horizon and give them hope.

One’s power may be limited, but as long as IHF carries on, it will eventually make a difference.

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