27 years dedicated his life as an unpaid elementary school wouldn’t stop Rudi Manggala Saputra to kept him on teaching those teapicker family kids of Puncak, a highland area of Cisarua county, Bogor, West of Java. It was his passion to see those kids find their rights of better future, find their rights of basic education which was not reached their living area that government people cannot provide.
This 48 years old man’s true heart of dedication to those teapicker kids villagers of Cikoneng, Cibulao, Rawa Gede, had already improved. It was him, dad of three children, who volunteered to erected the elementary school building for those kids in 1982.
From a ”school rooms” provided in a tea weighing house of a tea farming area in Rawa Gede Village, Rudi succeeded in opened the government eye to legalize the School, which then in 1996 had acquired as a State Elementary School of Cikoneng located in Cikoneng Village.
Rudi’s goodwill to build a humble school rooms, which is to make those elementary school old of age boys were possible to be literated society members, wasn’t supported by the local community elder. It was because they couldn’t afford for schooling fare.
But Rudi, who was graduated from High School of Economy of Pandeglang, West Java, were made convinced to keep on teaching those boys and girls to continue their education though he wouldn’t got no paid. Rudi whose hobby is have a walk in the tea farming were called upon to dedicated his best for those local residents who are lived in poverty. Sometime, he would been a volunteer to teach those illiterated adults.
”I’ve told to local leader, not to think about school fare. The most important thing is encouraging those kids to go to school. The reason for sure, it’s my ownwill who wish to teach them. I wouldn’t let them gone and saw those kids couldn’t get their rights of education, in these days of independence,” Rudi said.
Doing his routine –Rudi who had his permanent disabled of his right foot of an accident when he was a youth—he works as a parking man in Puncak (mountain peak area of west java mountains’ highland). Even, Rudi didn’t feel a shame of being a public toilet keeper in that area of tourists destination.
In spite of his status is as an unpaid volunteer teacher, he wouldn’t gave up, nor he jealous to those teachers whose already earned their legalized status as teachers of the state school.
Though once, he had been promised to be legalized from a local government leader. But the promises never come true. Indeed, he’d asked to pay some big money to make him legalized.
”Just when I’ve already prepared all documents required, that man said he just had to made his friend colleague of the province feel happy and sympathy for his endeavour. He said, that I couldn’t be legalized and remain as a volunteer teacher,” Rudi said.
That happen had made him disappointed and torn-off all documents he actually hard to earn, right in the very eyes of the local government man.
”It’s actually nothing to broke me down from that bad experienced, telling the truth, my point is to dedicated my passion but not to earn legalized sheet. I witnessed this should educated people were nothing served because no body care. I have been touched about this. They are children of the liberated nation. I’m willing tobe unpaid teacher, even as an unlegalized teacher,” Rudi told.
This teacher and the school guard were gave up to his volunteer status since 1987. Now, Rudi is paid Rp 250.000 per month equivalent to US $25. He also earn Rp 327.000 per month which is equivalent to US$ 32 from the tea company.
Though Rudi didn’t have any teaching education or experience, but his passion on children wouldn’t let him gave up on striving a better future for them. Contrary to goverment program on Nine Years of School Attending Obligation for children, but there are so many school drop out among teapickers kids, due to assist their parents earning money. Many of teapickers sons didn’t pursued their education because of have not enough money for school fare and transportation cost.
”For me, lucky and fortunes may come unpredictable at anytime. Those days, some people may gave their favours to me. The building of Cikoneng Elementary School were made restored was also because of unpredictable charity and fortunes. Indeed, I could be sad to see those kids’ education facilities was so minimum, and many rooms had been damaged,” Rudi said.
His attention to those teapickers kids’ education was a sort of improvement of his dedications. He wish no body wouldn’t pay under estimate onto his unabled feet.
”I need to prove to myself that as a disabled I also can stand on my own feet. A disabled like me wouldn’t be merely a beggard. I also need to prove that I could give the good things for those normal people,” Rudi said.
Fighting his economical problems, Rudi would force himself to provide a better education for his three children, at least to high school. He also wish to motivate those folks that education is a priority. Just by doing this, poverty circle of those teapickers community could be dissolved.
”when the time has come to pay for school fare, I would strived for it, though some time I may borrow money from friends, anything might be paid off to let my kids get their better education. I’m hoping, my children could be a sample for those folks to follow. There are many kids couldn’t sent to school because of location and fares. Junior and high school location are too far. By witnessing me who is living in poverty but willing to send kids to school at best, it might expectable those folks would do the same,” Rudi expecting.
Actually he is expecting that his daughter who is now in senior high school, and his son who is about to finish elementary school by year end, could pursue their education to a higher grade later on.
”I might expecting somebody buy me a wooden foot to enable me doing my activities. I happenly have suspend it for a long time due to my financial limitation, to buy a new wooden foot,” said Rudi who is used to use his wooden rod anywhere he walks.