The Learning Farm

The Learning Farm goal is to empower vulnerable youth across Indonesia to become independent, contributing, and responsible members of community. Mission: Establishing a safe, nurturing and productive learning environment Instilling essential life skills and core values through the learning medium of organic farming Developing environmental responsibility Creating a sustainable network of alumni who are actively engaged with the community Ensuring continuous staff development Maintaining accountability to all stakeholders
Jan 13, 2017

Ambrosius - Dignity in A Bittersweet of Life

Ambros
Ambros

It all started when a 10 year old Ambrosius  became a refugee from East Timor to East Nusa Tenggara back in November 1999, when a referendum separated East Timor from Indonesia.  Ambrosius was determined to leave his family and pursue his education in Indonesia by staying with his uncle at a refugee camp. But his uncle already had  13 children and so it seemed impossible for Ambros to stay with him. So when Yayasan Hati offered him a place at an orphanage in Semarang he enthusiastically accepted it.

His life was okay for a while but when he graduated from junior high school, Yayasan Hati was impoverished and young Abros and other children had to be returned to East Nusa Tenggara.  However, this did not crush his spirit. With his other 2 friends, he sailed back to the orphanage with a little amount of money from his uncle.

The orphanage did not have the funds to pay for their high school fees as their program was for the younger ones. So they were registered and accepted at a mechanic high school – the headteacher was incredibly kind and agreed for all three young men to study without  paying the school fees.

For the next three years of high school they had to struggle really hard. They walked to and from the school everyday without breakfast. They only got IDR 700 daily pocket money. Even though there were no school fees, there were some other costs like photo copying that needed payment.  It was a hard time – no money for the bus to school and very little money for food.  When they were terribly hungry they would buy food for IDR 1,000 and then pay the remaining balance the next day.

When Ambros finally graduated from high school, he got distracted and his life took a wrong direction. He worked at a convection factory for 9 months but got fired for a huge disagreement with his employer. Rage consumed him and he planned to put an end to his ex boss’ life. He owned a blade and learned back magic as well. He found a forensic book that taught him how to leave no evidence when commiting a crime. He planned to carry out his plan on 11-11-11.

Ambros lived on the street and successfully became a mafia in the insurance business. He got in and out of hospitals and harvested a lot of cash. But that business was tough. He got caught once and the insurance company blacklisted him. He then continued to wander on the streets, joining a network of street crime while waiting for his grand plan to be executed.

Ambros realised that if a life standard started at zero, his would be minus. His most degrading experience was when he was given rice that was supposed to fed to a dog. It crushed his heart and he felt lower than a dog.  During these dark days he would buy  fries and crumps for IDR 2,000 , cover them in chillies and then drink a lot of water in the hope of feeling full.

One day a TLF alumni from Jogja, called Santo,  visited the orphanage and shared  information about TLF.  Ambros was interested and thought, “God, if you want to make me a good person then please do.” Then he left for TLF by train with the money for the ticket lent to him by the orphanage.

The first few weeks at TLF were very difficult and he kept thinking about running away. But then, through persistent guidance and mentoring by facilitators at TLF, he was brainwashed (his own term) in a good way. For the first time in his entire life he was treated as a human being and slowly the scar to his dignity was healed. The message from a mentor that kept roaming in his memory was “You have another chance to learn and succeed in a different place”. At TLF he realised that God had a grand plan for him.

Upon his completion of the basic program an opportunity for a new chapter in his life open-up when a job vacancy was offered for the best graduate. He was ranked second and was offered a  job. He remembers this new beginning so well -   June 6th, 2011 and he soon forgot his mission for 11-11-11.

He still had a dream to study.  With the support from his employer he studied Management in Bandung Raya University. He paid the tuition himself and managed his time between work and study well. His dream to pursue higher education has been accomplished - he recently obtained his bachelor degree in management at the age of  28.

Through hardwork, integrity and dedication he has gained his dignity back.  There have been many speed bumps in his life but each has made him richer in experience and a lot wiser. “I always try to keep the good name of TLF and my employer in my every act. If I do good then there will be more chance for my fellow alumni to get new chances in their lives.” said Ambros, setting a role model.

We can not be more proud of you, Ambros!

Oct 19, 2016

The Transformation of Nurkholis

Nurkholis and His Current Activity
Nurkholis and His Current Activity

Nurkholis was a student in 2010 from East Java. He was 22 when he first came to TLF. He was then a young man with nothing to do and no purpose in life. He wandered the streets as a wild motorcycle racer, getting drunk and taking drugs. Until one day he received a TLF brochure from a neighbour that made him realise that his life had no future if he continued along this path. Within hours after receiving the brochure, he decided to take the opportunity and made his way to TLF.

According to Nurkholis, the life skills education he learned at TLF have transformed him into a completely different person. It helped him find his way – his purpose in life.

Immediatelly after graduation, TLF facilitated him to get a job in Bali. He worked there for 2 years. Then he found a better opportunity in Aceh, moved there and not only succeded, he also found love. They are now married and have two children. Nurkholis and his family are now residing in Yogyakarta, cultivating 700 m2 land with his friend in the Yogya Organic Community. He makes a living as an organic farmer; does everything from planting to selling the vegetables to the market. He also sells seedlings, solid fertilizer, liquid fertilizer, and provides a service in urban farming for city homes.

Way to go Nurkholis! We are proud of you.

Sep 6, 2016

XSProject Organic Farm

Happy showing the farm
Happy showing the farm

Three alumni from batch 23 are making their way to become farmers. Andre from Jakarta, Rudy from Jambi, and Arman from Bone are working together to conquer Jakarta soil with support from XSProject. XSProject is our partner who recommend and sponsor youth from the trash pickers community in Cirendeu, Jakarta. They continue to support Andre and his friends to pursue their dream to become farmers by opening XSProject Organic Farm located at the backyard of Lestari hospital in Cirendeu, Jakarta.

For the past 6 months, these three musketeers have experienced the ups and downs of working on a farm. They have planted 12 kinds of vegetables such as tomato, chilly, eggplant, lettuce etc. They also rear fish and have a hydroponic site at their little farm. They started all this from scratch, and with sheer dedication and consulting help from their mentor at TLF, they managed to transform the dried and unhealthy Jakarta soil into fertile soil.

Apart from their success in becoming farmer, these youth are also impacting their surrounding environment. They have taught the hospital how to separate their waste and use the organic waste for their farm. They have shared their knowledge and their vegetables with the trashpicker community in Cirendeu by inviting the school children to come and learn with them.

“Every night when we return to our room, I realize I was so lucky and grateful to TLF who have changed me into the person I am. I can’t mention all things I have learned one by one. I feel like running back to TLF and hug them all one by one.” Said Arman expressing his gratitude.

Hydroponic
Hydroponic
 
   

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