She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Hermawati (born 1956) is a volunteer teacher in the tiny island Pulau Burung off South Kalimantan, Indonesia. This 49-year-old mother of three children has been providing free schooling for the island’s poor children for 15 years, despite lacking proper education herself, using her own meager financial resources to build a modest school building and purchase learning materials. Her efforts have encouraged more parents to send their children to school.Neither a prestigious university graduate nor a genius is needed to give children a small taste of education. Hermawati, of the tiny and impoverished Pulau Burung Island off the South Kalimantan coast in Indonesia, is proof of that.
Academically, … Hermawati does not qualify as a teacher. She only has a Sekolah Rakyat degree, equivalent to elementary school, which provided her only with basic reading and writing skills. Nonetheless, she has dedicated the last 15 years to teaching children on the island, and all for free. She even built her own school building, with a thatch roof, wooden walls and earthen floor. That was in 1993.
SD Tunas Nelayan is the first school ever on the island. Before then, children had to travel 30 minutes by rowboat to the mainland. For speedier travel by motorboat, they had to pay more. Most of Pulau Burung residents are traditional fishermen. Due to poverty, most parents on the island did not send their children to school in the mainland. The children spent their days playing or helping their parents with minor fishery tasks. Consequently, most children in Pulau Burung were illiterate … She says: “Our dream is simple: that children can read and write. That is all I can do for them” … (1000peacewomen 1/2).
Hermawati – of Island Pulau Burung of South Kalimantan, Indonesia …
… (sorry, my photo upload software doesn’t work anymore, no more NEW pictures are possible, only allready published ones out of an existing file … and my famous software Ingeneer, having built up all this beautiful blog construction, is death by lung cancer … peace and eternal gratitude to his beautiful soul … ).
Hermawati works for SD Tunas Nelayan (named in a list on NISN /Rekap Data).
(1000peacewomen 2/2): … “I felt sorry to see the children unable to read and write,” Hermawati says. ”
So I thought it might help if we could just set up a school here. A modest one would do, so that the children could at least get a basic education.
She began her crusade in 1991, when she started giving basic reading and writing lessons to the children. Her classroom was a small wooden house she built with the help of her neighbors, using materials donated by a government organization. She named her elementary school Tunas Nelayan, which means the hope of fishermen. She did not charge any fees because she knew it would only prevent parents from sending their children to her school. She even provided the learning materials. The parents only had to spend for the children’s writing books.
Her makeshift classroom quickly disassembled, however, so Hermawati had to find ways to build a new one. In 1993, she collected all her family’s savings and rebuilt her school. Hermawati’s family is not rich, although they are better off compared to the other Pulau Burung residents. At that time, her husband worked as a laborer at a timber plantation.
She finally managed to rebuild the school, in her backyard, a modest 18-square meter three room house made with wooden walls, a thatch roof and floor. Since Hermawati was not academically trained and she knew only basic reading and writing skills, she improvised the curriculum. In order to improve her reading and writing, she attended the government’s illiteracy eradication “Paket B” program. A few dozen children on the island now attend her school, which accepts students from the first to the fifth grade. Sixth-grade students have to continue their studies in an Islamic elementary school on the mainland. Public elementary schools refuse to accept Hermawati’s students, citing the inadequacy of her curriculum.
In the early years, Hermawati taught the children all by herself. She handled students from the first to the fifth grade, in one class after the other, allocating two hours for each class. She taught from morning to late afternoon, making her husband very unhappy about her schedule. He worried that Hermawati did not have enough time to take care of their three children. He often got angry when Hermawati was not around to serve him when he returned home from work.
“I did not dare argue with him,” she says. “But when he cooled down, I would calmly ask him to understand that what I did was important to help give children a better future and that he would be proud to see the fruit of my works in the time to come.” In 2000, Hermawati’s eldest son, Parhansyah, began to help her teach. “I felt sorry for mother, she had worked so hard to teach the children without any help,” he says. He completed junior high school in the Islamic school on the mainland. Continue Reading…