„Even if the whole world were to forget the children in our village, God has not forgotten, and that’s why we care for them.“ These words from Pastor Luisa in Melingkat about five years ago, were the catalyst that started the kindergarten project of the Nehemiah Team in Kalimantan. It remains our foundation: Because every child is valuable, deserves a chance to be educated and to develop his or her abilities and potential, every kindergarten is a place of hope for the future. Since that time the Nehemiah Team now oversees eleven similar kindergartens. It begins with support in starting the program, helping with building a suitable facility if necessary, continues with putting learning resources together and training the teachers in both Montessori methods and Christian values and worldview.
The training, and especially the application of what the teachers learn, is more important than giving a few new toys, but in saying that, sometimes our success is limited. In the end it is in the hands of the the local teachers how far they apply what they’ve learned. Nonetheless, looking back over the last four years we are encouraged to push on and further extend the project. The kindergarten in Melingkat has developed into a model for others, a place where interested teachers are able to get some experience before they take part in a full training program.
Ibu Merry, from the largest kindergarten in the town of Sintang, began a small, new kindergarten in her living room at the beginning of the year. Ibu Fina is teaching four children on her veranda in Aboi and despite the simple and extremely limited external circumstances, she is applying the methods and materials correctly and effectively. We can see her heart for the children in what she does. A few weeks ago Wolfgang Oelschlegel’s telephone rang and at the other end was Grace, a child who was in the kindergarten in Aboi last summer, “Mr. Teacher, how are you? I just rang to tell you that I am the top of my class in my school!” Perhaps a rather funny call, but it is by no means the exception. Almost all our kindergarten children are among the best in their classes. To quote Pastor Luisa again, “The first time we three teachers sat in the Nehemiah Team’s training class, we thought, ‘That will never, ever work in our village, with our ‘jungle kids.’’ But now we know that the Montessori method is absolutely the best for our situation and our children. I recently told the superintendent of the Education Department this and invited him to come and see!“
There are kindergartens in less than ten percent of the villages of West Kalimantan. Your financial support can change that. We can set up a kindergarten with all the toys and teaching equipment for about 500 Euros. Please consider making a donation!