Creativity and Passion Brought to Teaching

By: Carlin Trevin Lenggu, Data Quality and Communication Officer

Every day, Tika’s father takes her to school near their home in a small village in Indonesia. Even heavy rain does not discourage her from making the trip — she is too excited to be learning how to read and write! Her excitement in gaining new skills through fun lessons and activities is thanks to the support and encouragement of her parents, teachers and Save the Children’s early childhood education program.

Tika and her literacy teacher Katarina

Tika also benefits from the special training her teacher, Katarina, has received through the program’s Literacy Boost for early grade teachers.  This specific training provides teachers with new strategies and tools to help bolster their classroom instruction.  For example, Katarina had trouble preparing material that was both engaging and easy to follow for her first-grade students.  The literacy training showed her new, fun ways to approach lessons that focused on the needs of her students. “Now my class is alive with attractive and colorful material and I am excited to see that there is a lot of improvement from the children,” she proudly explains.

For example, Tika is now a model student and enjoys helping her classmates with their reading and writing. She can also attest to the difference she felt in the classroom.  “My teacher taught us in a different way and now it’s fun,” she says. “She provided us with new games and songs of the alphabet, and decorated our classroom with colorful alphabetic drawings.” Laughing, she adds, “my favorite game is guessing letters written on our back by a friend using their finger.” 

Tika (middle) with her friends checking out books in their school library

Katerina understands that motivation, hard work and commitment are key to providing proper education to young children.  Through her creativity and passion, Katerina is able to foster a love of learning in her students and see the positive results of her efforts.  The smile on Tika’s face says it all!

Through Viona’s Eyes

VicHeadshotWEBVictoria Zegler

Multimedia Storyteller

Save the Children in Indonesia

February 25, 2018

10-year-old Viona lives in a remote community tucked away in Central Sumba, Indonesia. She lives in a small village that does not have access to electricity or

Viona is now able to explore herself in sponsorship programs by learning how the importance of a healthy lifestyle!
Viona is now able to explore herself in sponsorship programs by learning how the importance of a healthy lifestyle!

running water. Poor hygiene is common in remote areas where Viona lives and children like her are faced with it every day. Prior to sponsorship, Viona did not understand the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and how it contributes to her success in school. Just last year, Viona suffered from malaria due to the lack of awareness of the illness and not being able to identify her symptoms.

In 2016, Viona was given the opportunity to become a Little Doctor at her school. The program, which is an innovation from the School Health and Nutrition program, enforces healthy lifestyle choices through peer-to-peer educational activities, an approach to help promote health within student groups. These activities include washing hands and monitoring the cleanliness of their classrooms, latrines and the school environment. “My favorite person is a doctor,” Viona said. “When I get older I want to be a doctor because they not only help sick people but many different people.”

Viona sits outside of her home where she lives with both of her grandparents and younger sister.
Viona sits outside of her home where she lives with both of her grandparents and younger sister.

Today, when Viona comes home from school, she now knows the importance of eating a healthy meal. She then takes a bath in the river by her house after learning the importance of staying clean to promote good health. Thanks to you, Viona can look to her future with hope. With your support, we can help more children like Viona understand the importance of pursuing a healthy lifestyle and how it contributes to their future success.

To Learn and To Play

Yasintha Bere

Data Quality and Communication Officer

Save the Children in Indonesia

December 8, 2017

“To take care and educate your own child is simply a task of parents and almost everyone does it, yet to do the same for the other children is a matter of choice,” said Henderina in a conversation with sponsorship staff while meeting in her home. Yes, Henderina is one of those who chooses to educate not only her children – Yedija and Grace, ages 3 and 9 respectively – but also the other children in her community, at their sponsorship supported Reading Camp. She has been trained as a community volunteer by Save the Children in order to run the Reading Camp in her house for the local children. She believes that reading can be the window for the little villagers to see the world and to achieve their dreams.

As the Reading Camp had just been established, children ages 6 – 10 came with great enthusiasm. They came together to play games that strengthen their literacy skills and to learn to read the newly provided books. “It was such a joy to see children enjoy the games and learning. You can see that this is what they really need, to play and to learn through games with their peers.” Before sponsorship helped establish a Reading Camp in their community, children had very little access to books or other reading materials. Most have no books at home of their own, and there was no community library available.

After the Reading Camp was established, children like Maksimilianus, Fransiska and Ananda came with great enthusiasm.
After the Reading Camp was established, children like Maksimilianus, Fransiska and Ananda came with great enthusiasm.

With the creation of the Reading Camp, two challenges of improving the reading ability of local children were solved. Firstly, with the provision of books, which could also be lent to children so they could read them at home. Secondly, through the provision of a passionate facilitator like Henderina, who helps them to be motivated to learn and who encourages group learning styles that makes learning amongst friends fun for the children.

Henderina realizes that children this age cannot be forced to learn in a way adults may be able to. They need friends. They need to play. Therefore, in her Reading Camp, she tries to incorporate learning through play every day. Children can learn phonetics, letters and vocabulary through singing, playing games, solving puzzles and storytelling. Henderina dedicates her time for the children happily, having fun too with them in the Reading Camp.

Running the Reading Camp in a community where not all parents are aware of the significance of education and literacy is not without challenges. One of them is finding a way to get parents excited about sending their children to the Reading Camp. Some assume that sending their children would be a waste of time, and would rather have their help around the home, such as by collecting firewood, fetching water and caring for the family animals.

Henderina believes that the primary reason for this is the low awareness among parents on the great impact that being allowed to learn while playing with their friends can have on their children. Because of this, she has taken it as part of her role as community volunteer to visit every family with children in her community, to discuss the importance of educating their children and to encourage the parents to send their children to the Reading Camp.

Author Yasintha working with kids who benefit from sponsorship programs like Reading Camps.
Author Yasintha working with kids who benefit from sponsorship programs like Reading Camps.

Her efforts bear fruit as more and more children come to her Reading Camp as she meets with more and more parents. Sometimes, parents even stay to participate in the activities themselves. “With this positive progress, I strongly believe that the children in my community can read like those in the city and can reach whatever dreams they may have. This can start here, from this Reading Camp,” she proudly stated.

Mobilizing community members to help build our programs is an integral part of sponsorship. We provide training and tools that enable children, parents, teachers and local partners like Henderina to work together to achieve common goals. Consider sharing this story with a friend or family member, to show how you’ve helped bring the joy of reading to children in the Philippines, as one of our valued sponsors! Thank you!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Kariwang: Favorite Dish of West Sumba


Modjo Kale Jami

Program Assistant

Jakarta, Indonesia

July 7, 2015


The familiar smell of kariwang, or mashed cassava leaves, permeates the air. The appealing smell combines the cassava leaves with a blend and marination of coconut, basil, and lime. I have been accustomed to this smell all my life. It is my family’s favorite dish. I can hardly resist the smell and temptation while preparing it. 


The favorite dish of West Sumba, Kariwang

Mashed cassava leaves, or kariwang in the Wanukaka dialect of West Sumba, Indonesia, is a favorite dish of most Sumbanese families. Eating kariwang is at the same time a moment of togetherness. Sumbanese people eat kariwang during family events while trading stories. As a native Sumbanese, I have been eating kariwang all my life and have always taken pleasure in the joy the food and the moment brings. If I was away and felt homesick, I cooked kariwang to bring in a warm feeling that could refresh and heal.

The cooking of kariwang is easy. Most women in Sumbanese families know how to cook this favorite dish. The main ingredient, cassava leaves, can be found in the backyard of most family houses. Spices can also either be obtained from one’s backyard or bought from a nearby traditional market. Onion, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, curcuma, lime, coconut milk, and basil are among the spices used to produce the irresistable smell. 


Preparing the favorite dish of West Sumba.

The first step is smashing the cassava leaves. They are pounded with a wooden mortar and pestle together with onion, garlic, salt, and a handful of rice, until all the ingredients are evenly mixed and become juicy.

The next step is to prepare for two types of coconut milk. The first is thicker, having more oil content, and the second is more dilluted, having more water content. Light the fire and get your cooking pot ready, then pour in the dilluted coconut milk and wait for a few minutes until it becomes warm. Next, add the raw mixture of kariwang into the cooking pot and wait until it boils.

When it starts to boil, stir and lower the fire. At the same time, add basil, curcuma, galangal, lemongrass, and lime to the mixture. Thin slices of dried fish can also be used. Then, pour in the thicker coconut milk. Let the ingredients marinate for a while and then keep stiring. When the color of the coconut milk turns grayish, the mixture blends into one and the rich smell permeates the air. The kariwang is then ready to be served.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Look Who’s Got a Letter!

Sumba_Indonesia_First Blog Post_Agustinus_Blog Author_portrait

Augustinus Mau Tukan

Communications Officer

East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

October 31, 2014 2014


Receiving a letter from sponsors is a joy to be shared with others. For many children, letters they receive from sponsors are prized possessions which they bring home to show to parents, siblings, relatives, and friends. Here are some joyful expressions which we have gathered from the field.

Sumba_Indonesia_First Blog Post_Primus and her sister upon receiving the card from Primus sponsor

Primus, right, holds up his card from his sponsor

Primus, age 6, came to school with his mom and his younger sister to receive the card and letter from his sponsor. He took the card, showed it around with a beaming face and said, “This is mine.” His joy is shared with his sister and fellow kindergarteners at the local early childhood center as they giggle looking at the cards and the photo sent by Primus’ sponsor.

Stefanus, age 6, is the first sponsored child at his school to receive a letter from his sponsor. After seeing Stefanus’ excitement, other students asked when it will be their turn to get letters from their sponsors. Shy and excited, Stefanus said, “I want to tell stories and draw the Pasola horse for my sponsor.”

Sumba_Indonesia_First Blog Post_Aurelia_showing her drawing and response letter

Aurelia holds up a drawing and letter to her sponsor

Aurelia, age 7, still seemed not to believe that the letter sent by her sponsor was actually for her. She inquired, “Is it really for me?” It was the first letter that Aurelia has ever received so she held it tightly to her chest and wanted to go home promptly to show her parents. She is eager to write back and draw for her sponsor.

Astiana, age 7, received a letter and said she wants to study English so that she can read her letters in English and write back to her sponsor in English. She added, “For now, I’ll show my sponsor the place where I live through my drawing.”

It is amazing to see how letters from sponsors can spark contagious joy, breed a sense of worth, ignite inspiration to study harder, and cherish a dream of one day becoming different from who they are now.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

From Tsunami to Earthquake – An Inspiring Story of Cross Cultural Compassion

Charlie Charles MacCormack, Save the Children president and CEO

Westport, Connecticut
August  20, 2010

Sometimes it is those who have experienced hardship and loss themselves who are the ones who reach out to others in times of tragedy.  This is definitely the case for the students of UNSYIAH Laboratory School, a model community school established in 2007 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, designed to educate the students from the areas severely damaged by the 2004 earthquake and tsunami.  

Following the news of the earthquake in Haiti, the students of the UNSYIAH Laboratory School held several events to raise funds for the victims in Haiti.  

Washing bike

For two weeks in mid-January of this year, they prepared and sold food and beverages to their fellow classmates, organized a charity car and motorcycle wash, volunteered as parking lot attendants and set out collection boxes on the streets of Banda Aceh to raise money from area residents. 
Donation box

The school’s senior class presented the funds to Save the Children as their class gift during the graduation ceremony this year, requesting that the money be used to help school children impacted by the Haiti earthquake. 


Click here to learn how you can fundraise for Save the Children in your community.

Last Day in Padang: October 29, 2009


Ingrid Lund, Save the Children, communications officer, Padang, Indonesia


Today is my last day in the “Big Brother” house here in Padang as my plane back home to Norway leaves at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning. I can’t believe that I’ve been here for three weeks already … or that I haven’t been here for three months. Strangely enough I have both those feelings at the same time.


I know I have been talking quite a bit about losing a grip on time. But it’s really a strange feeling. Each day is so long and extreme that it gets hard to remember the day before. In that respect it feels like I’ve been in Indonesia forever. The constant combination of too much work, too little sleep, and a complete lack of privacy ensure that I experience an enormous amount of both exciting and not-so-exciting things every day.


In a way, this feels like home now. My colleagues here in Padang have been my entire life the last three weeks. We’ve been together 24/7 and know so much about each other by now; we’re almost family J


On the other hand, it’s going to be fantastic to get back to my actual home. I just can’t stop dreaming about that real shower I’ll be having, hot water pouring endlessly over my head. The opportunity to rinse the shampoo out of my hair for the first time in three weeks. Clean clothes. Oh, this might very well be the best shower of my life!


Tomorrow, when I start my long journey home to that shower, exactly one month will have passed since the earthquake hit West Sumatra. So far, Save the Children has provided more than 98,000 people – including almost 50,000 children – with critical shelter and relief supplies. This means that


Save the Children has mounted the largest relief effort of any international non-governmental organization in response to the quake. This means we’re two-thirds on our way to our goal to reach 150,000 people, including 75,000 children with essential relief. That’s great and most certainly makes up for the 80-90 hours long work weeks! 


Schooltents_022_case-1 Thinking back, 12-year-old Popot might be the person I’ve met here who has made the biggest impression on me. Her house was completely destroyed during the earthquake.


I met Popot in one of the 80 school tents that Save the Children has erected so far.


I noticed her because she was the girl with the broadest smile and the biggest laugh. She looked genuinely happy to be in  school with her friends.


I will never forget Popot’s big smile!   


Learn more about Save the Children's emergency response in the Asia-Pacific region.

45,000 Children and Families Hardest Hit by the Sumatra Earthquake Get Life-saving Relief from Save the Children

Ed. note: Two-and-a-half weeks after a magnitude-7.9 earthquake shattered West Sumatra, Save the Children has provided critical shelter and relief items to 8,676 households, or 44,380 people, 60 percent of them children.

Ingrid Lund, Save the Children, communications officer, Padang, Indonesia

Ingrid_web The village Batu Basa lies in the hills in Aur Malintang district in West Sumatra. This area was hard hit by the earthquake. Here 90–95 percent of the population can no longer live in their houses, which are completely destroyed or in danger of collapsing.

Today, Save the Children is distributing hygiene kits in Batu Basa. The rain is pouring down. Therefore, the distribution is taking place inside a large, green tent the government has erected next to the narrow road that passes through the village. The tent has no floor. Four men sits on plastic chairs. In a corner are three younger men and a boy relaxing and leaning against some cardboard boxes from Save the Children containing the hygiene items.


"This is a very difficult situation for all of us. My house was completely destroyed in the earthquake. Now 15 peopl, me included, are sleeping in thhis tent. We have nowhere else to go. When it rains like this, everything inside the tent gets soaking wet," Says Hari.


Save the Children staff are working round the clock to deliver relief to the most vulnerable children and their families.


The agency plans to reach 150,000 people — among them 90,000 children — with shelter, household and hygiene kits. These kits include plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, a cook stove, pots, pans, cutlery, soap, toothbrush, detergent and other hygiene items. 


(Pictured below, more than 8,400 shelter kits being unloaded from the first of three airplanes bringing supplies.)



Save the Children has been able to quickly deliver vital supplies to the worst-hit areas because we had items stored in warehouses in Indonesia before the earthquake. Indonesia is prone to natural disasters, and we know that advance preparation is the key to saving lives and mitigating the effects of a crisis,” said Peter Sykes, Save the Children’s team leader in West Sumatra.

Save the Children has worked in Indonesia for over three decades. In recent years, it has responded to nearly all minor, medium-sized and major natural disasters in the country.

In addition to providing immediate relief to children and families after a disaster, the agency helps communities prepare for emergencies and develop the capacity to reduce risks posted by disasters in the future.

Learn more about Save the Children's emergency response in the Asia-Pacific region.

Save the Children Provides Supplies to Crowds in Indonesia

Allison Zelkowitz, program manager

Padang, Indonesia

Allison's blog appears on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 blog page.

October 11, 2009, 11:26 PM

Allison Zelkowitzrszd10.12.doc Our distribution teams had a packed day – with just 14 people, we managed to provide nearly 1,500 families with hygiene kits and household items such as a small gas stove, cooking pots and utensils, mosquito nets and blankets.

Before I arrived in Padang eight days ago, I never knew how much planning, organizing and effort goes into providing needed supplies, or “NFIs,” as they’re called in humanitarian aid lingo. NFIs stands for non-food items.

Besides selecting, procuring, storing, shipping and transporting NFIs, distributing them requires an intensive process. First, Save the Children staff members meet with community leaders, assess the damage in each community, determine each community’s need and help community leaders develop a list of recipients — the people who most need them.

The actual distribution of NFIs usually begins the next day, and that’s when it can get tricky. The goal is to make sure the right goods get to the right families, while maintaining a secure environment for those who are receiving items, as well as for those who are distributing them. Crowds are sometimes unpredictable. 

This evening, as my team began our final distribution of the day, I worried a bit since the crowd seemed more eager than usual, pushing against the tape barrier and repeatedly venturing into the distribution area. But once the distribution process began, the tension somehow turned into festivity.

NFIsindonesia One community member stationed himself at the distribution area exit and blew a shrill whistle at anyone who tried to cross the line. He did this with such zeal and humor that every time he warned someone away, the crowd broke into laughter. Children raced around the perimeter, and neighbors teased each other as they hefted the large boxes away.

At one point, I looked around at the more than 100 faces around me, and realized how impressed I was with the resiliency of people here. About 90 percent of them – children, women and men – no longer have a home. And yet there they were, just one week later, smiling, joking and truly enjoying the moment. 

Learn more about Save the Children's emergency response in the Asia-Pacific region.

Indonesia Quakes Leave Thousands of Children Homeless

Allison Zelkowitz, Save the Children program manager

Allison's blog also appears on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 blog page 

October 9, 2009, 11:00 PM 

Our new field office consists of two bedrooms and a sitting room on the second floor of a large home bordered by rice terraces. This could almost be Bali, if it weren’t for the collapsed houses next door.

The landlady here is about 70 years old and less than five feet tall; she has a wonderful smile. She’s not only housing us, but she’s also taken in 1015 of her neighbors, who sleep on the floor downstairs. This house has become quite a community center – there are always a dozen or more children playing outside or watching TV. Most of these children are now homeless.

IndonChildReszdDSC_0119 Today I brought some crayons, coloring books, paper and markers for our landlady to keep in the house. When I showed them to the kids, I thought they were unimpressed.

But as soon as I walked away, they immediately dove into the box and started drawing. I think many haven’t seen crayons or toys in a week.

Many mothers and teachers have told us that children here have been traumatized by the earthquake.

I’ve heard that some are afraid to leave their parents’ side, and I’ve seen kids jump when a helicopter flies overhead or a large truck trundles past. Yet they still have so much capacity for joy. 


This afternoon I was sitting under a tent surrounded by eight children – their parents were waiting to claim the hygiene kits and shelter materials Save the Children was distributing. I made some faces at the kids for a while, and tried to get them to sing (they refused). But then I showed them the “separating thumb trick,” which they watched with a mix of awe, glee and terror. When I asked if they wanted to learn how to do it, they ran off screaming and giggling. 

Sometimes I love my job.

Learn more about Save the Children's emergency response in the Asia-Pacific region.