“My life is ordinary. Only motorcycle taxi drivers. I don’t have a diploma either.”
Perhaps not many think that Jamaludin is very caring and concerned about children, especially children of migrant workers (APM). Maybe his background as a migrant worker who had worked to Malaysia made him empathize with the children who are left by their parents to work. Especially since February 2017, his wife has also been working in Saudi Arabia to increase their income.
It started when Program Peduli entered his village, Watu Hadang Village, East Sumba District, East Nusa Tenggara Province (NTT). “My children are APM, their mother is abroad. The other day someone from the [Wali Ati Foundation] came to my house. My children were invited to activities in Malang, but at that time I did not know about this program. I didn’t allow it, at that time the issue of terrorists and bombs was booming again. I didn’t believe it so I wouln’t allow my children to go,” Jamaludin said, remembering the beginning of his meeting in September 2017 with the Walti ATi Foundation (YASALTI) that runs Program Peduli.
East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province is known as the province that sends the most illegal Indonesian Workers (TKI) abroad. The National Board for Placement and Protection of The Indonesia Overseas Workers (BNP2TKI) in 2016 said that of the 1.3 million illegal Indonesian migrant workers, around 60 percent came from NTT and the majority were women. This condition not only makes migrant workers vulnerable to violence, drastic changes are also felt by those children who are left behind and grow up with a lack of proper care.
Jamalaudin’s worries vanished when then there was an activity in his village that discussed about the children of migrant workers. He came and it was when he realized that his prejudice was groundless. It only took one month for Jamaludin to finally often participated in activities ranging from socialization, regular discussions, training on childcare, as well as assisting the children of migrant workers including his own children. Jamaludin becomes one of the cadres who actively helps protect APM. He even fetches children from other migrant workers who may be far from the village office or the cadre’s house so that they can continue to attend the mentoring activities. Jamaludin even takes the time voluntarily to do data collection from house to house.
“Eventually I become a cadre, with my willingness to help until now. My activities are if there are children whose parents go abroad to become TKI [Indonesian Migrant Workers] or TKW [Women Migrant Workers] or go outside the region, these children is placed in the grandmother’s or family’s care, I come and check if there are [birth certificates] and Family Cards to be taken care of,” said Jamaludin.
The data collection aims to determine the condition of the APM and help meet the needs of education. Shoes, bags and other learning equipment are also given so that children are more enthusiastic about going to school because most of them are not confident and shy. “We give support to them [APM] so they will not feel inferior. Every month we also come to have a meeting, teaching them to sing,” added Jamaludin.
Simple activities such as singing and dancing are able to increase APM’s confidence and make it easier for them to mingle with other children, even they had the courage to perform in public. It becomes a pride for Jamaludin. “If there is a government’s or other visit to Sumba, the children are invited to dance to the welcoming ceremony. Now they don’t feel inferior anymore,” Jamaludin said proudly.
Not only that, Jamaludin also has special attention to diffable children. “When conducting data collection I saw a diffable child with difficulty to communicate with neighbors, unable to walk, only stay inside the room. So I tried to get the child a wheelchair. After several months the wheelchair’s support arrived. The child can now communicate outside, playing with friends, the child is free to go out to join the family to travel,” Jamaludin told me proudly. With this support, diffable children are no longer isolated and the community is becoming more caring and accepting of them.
After becoming a cadre, Jamaludin, familiarly called Bapak Ega, is no longer worried when his children would take part in various activities. In fact, he proudly supports his children attending the National Children’s Gathering event in Surabaya which was held by Program Peduli for the commemoration of the National Children’s Day in July 2018.
This father of four children may indeed be mediocre. However, his dedication to APMs is truly unusual. He still has a lot of hope for Sumba children, especially because of the high dropout of school rates. He hopes there is a place for them to get an education so they can be successful and become good children for the country. Jamaludin is proof that no special skills are needed to open our hearts, intention and care to knit a better future for children.
Jamaludin is one of the organic cadres of Program Peduli called Pandu Inklusi Nusantara (PINTAR). In November 2018, Jamaludin received an appreciation from Program Peduli at PINTAR Appreciation Night event in Yogyakarta.