By: Dinda Veska
Do you still remember our story about two girls from Kenanga* Village named Sari* and Dewi*? The ones whose lives changed dramatically when they both married the same man, Hazar and gave birth to his children. Sari said that she really missed her old life. "I would be happier being a student than a mother. If I go back to school, everything will be better!"
When her husband Hazar left her, she told her mum what she longed for. But lack of money was the main thing that stood in the way of her going back to school. Even then, finding a school that would accept Sari as a bride and a mum was not at all easy.
Meanwhile in 2015, just a few kilometres away from Kenanga Village, the Government of Mamuju was working in partnership with UNICEF and a local organization to gather information on out-of-school children through the Information System on Human Based Development (SIPBM). Their data revealed that 687 children like Sari were out of school due to getting married.
Based on the information gathered from SIPBM, UNICEF worked with other stakeholders to help these children back to school. This was how they came into contact with Sari, who told them how much she wanted to go back to school, so they supported her to pursue her education, they accompany Sari to looking for the school and prepare her mental condition to face the new environment.
Sari also told them that education is the best tool people can use to end poverty and change a family's situation.
But rejection and bullying at the first school she tried made Sari lose confidence and she dropped out again. Thankfully though the head of her village was very supportive, helping her to keep trying until that self-confidence came back. Through this support Sari was also fortunate to receive a small scholarship from a local interested in her story. As a result, last year, Sari was finally able to go back to school, through a government programme also supported by UNICEF Indonesia, called One Roof School (Sekolah Satu Atap – SATAP).
The program was created to provide solutions to geographical constraints and other challenges faced by many children in primary school. Education With one roof school, the children like Sari are able to enroll directly into Junior High School. Sari is now officially a student again in senior high school. Just like her hero, Jendral Sudirman, Sari keeps on fighting against the hardships of life.
Now, the bride is back as a student!
Sari's future is getting brighter and brighter because of the collaboration among government, UNICEF Indonesia, and many other stakeholders, including you!
*Names of girls and villages have been changed.