AFRIYANA
Plan International
Location: Indonesia
Occupation: Teacher

Wishes do come true, twice: Afriyana’s journey in establishing schools
"I must establish a school in this village,"
thirty-one-years-old Afriyana promised herself when she saw a student fall to the ground while riding on an open truck on the way to school. Dangerous situation like this or a strenuous 5-kilometer walk to the nearest junior high school coupled with family financial condition have led to a regular scene of children dropping out of schools in Indonesia’s Alindau village, Donggala, Central Sulawesi.

Challenge Accepted
It was not an easy task to establish a school. Afriyana first began to raise funds from the community, which posed challenge in itself as most community members mainly work as farmers. As for the location, she spotted a former mosque where she envisioned her school. Given that the building was completely abandoned, Afriyana sought assistance from neighboring schools by borrowing their learning equipment including basic amenities such as chairs and tables. Any broken items were repaired by her husband.
After almost a year, a tuition-free school was built. There was an enrollment of 13 students, many of whom are orphans or from poor families. "It is a blessing that our children can carry on their education,” said one of the students' parent.
Tides Turned
All it took was a strike of an earthquake to crumble down the school within a mere 5 minutes. Afriyana was shocked. "At that time, I was so sad. We just started the second year of the school, but it had suddenly vanished,” she painstakingly recalled. However, the overwhelmingly positive spirit of the children lifted her up.
A few weeks after the disaster, the children asked her to run a school again.
“Miss, we want to learn even if it is under a tree,”
said one of the students.
During the period, most government and humanitarian institutions prioritized tent distribution to public schools rather than private schools. However, Afriyana, fueled with motivation, contacted her network within the governmental social agency to successfully create an emergency learning place using not only a tarpaulin (temporary tent), but also bamboos.
Going Beyond
After two months, Afriyana was approached by Plan Indonesia where the organization help transformed Afriyana’s school into a Temporary Learning Space with three classrooms, separate bathrooms and proper hand washing facilities. Village officials, school committees and representatives of student guardians were also invited for an informational session and discussion on further development plan. Soon after, Afriyana was once again assisted by another foundation where two additional classrooms were built.
After six months of using temporary classrooms, today, 51 students are attending classes in proper classrooms in their new school building without the constant fear about weather or climatic events.