Last May, we featured the story of Aidha graduate and trainee, Tri Utami, who was departing Singapore for good to begin a new chapter of her life. Tri had been planning to open an English Learning Group and a few weeks ago, we checked back with her to see how things were coming along…
We were alerted to the developments in Tri’s plans by some photos she shared with friends on Facebook. It turns out she opened her learning centre almost three months ago in her hometown in Java, Indonesia.
Her classes are made up of children between 5 and 12 years old from the neighbourhood and nearby villages. She grouped her students according to level of competence: Group A is the beginners class for kids from 5 to 8 years old. She conducts them like a play group where they sing nursery rhymes, learn the alphabet and numbers, and form basic English sentences. Meanwhile, Group B for the more advanced older kids from 9 to 14 years old, emphasises essay writing and sentence composition.
Applying some of the techniques she learned at Aidha, Tri makes use of colourful stickers to evaluate performance and motivate the students to improve.
Her set-up is very simple. The classroom is housed in her parents’ home where her younger sister assists in supervising the children. Another technique she learned from Aidha to develop students’ confidence and leadership skills is the nomination of student leaders –a boy and a girl–to help with leading the class.
It’s fascinating to hear from Tri that a simple English tutorial session with her niece and nephew and two of their playmates led to this amazing venture. One day she was just surprised to find 14 kids waiting for her at her parents’ house to learn English. Soon, word spread and parents began dropping their kids off at her family’s place for lessons. Tri seized the opportunity to start the English Learning Group.
She was initially offering her classes for free. But when some of the parents started asking her to tutor their kids, she reconsidered and now charges Rp25,000 (SG$2.50) a month per child to cover her transportation and meal costs. She also lets them borrow the English books she picks out for them to take home and study.
Without the English Learning Group, most of the children would simply be playing in the streets if not helping their parents. Tri, leveraged her skills and knowledge gained at Aidha to start a small venture that imparts the ‘joy of learning’ to her students. And she has taken her first step towards financial independence.
Tri recently got married and is considering an offer from a tuition centre. But for now she plans to continue growing her English group for as long as she has children coming. We send her our best wishes for continued success.
Editor’s Note: Tri is still in need of books, tables and chairs. If you wish to help out, you can reach her at +62 815 41393 512 and +62 821 27573 392. Or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tri with her English Learning Group Students