Testimonial by Nur Rahmadani Ahmad (Ms Daniy)

Ms Daniy was a volunteer teacher and youth mentor at Sekolah Gunung Merapi from January to June 2017. She was always cheerful and full of humour, at any hour and easily made the children feel calm, comfortable and confident. Always friendly with anyone, open and ready to try anything and learn anything! We will always miss her and are very grateful for all her support. Now Ms Daniy has returned home to Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan, where she is now an English language teacher and is already a star hit with her new students. Wishing you all the best for all your future adventures! Love from your Merapi Family.xxx

“I never thought I would see such a remarkable village and a very remarkable school. It all began with some information I got from a friend, who made me curious about the non-profit school in theRed Zone of Merapi mountain, how can that be?

I had never been to the village before, finally my curiosity became too big and as my friend was going there…amid the heavy rain we finally arrived at the village of Pangukrejo, location of Sekolah Gunung Merapi. Alhamdulillah, Allah introduced me with Yasmin and Fajar, the husband and wife founders of SGM. And taraaaa, I am starting something new for the first time in my entire life.

Living there, my first experience was teaching English for children at this school. There is an interesting story when I first started teaching, hahaa … I found it so difficult! I never realised teaching children is such a difficult thing. Sometimes they run around, fuss and suddenly don’t want to pay attention to the lesson. Alhamdulillah, Yasmin would always give me help and input on how to control the situation in class, one of the messages from Yasmin that I always remember, “Daniy you have to be happy yourself before you can make the children happy … if you can also teach here, you can certainly teach anywhere. ”

Asides from that, Ms Yasmin always helped me to improve my abilities in speaking English and its application. Eventually, I began to feel that the children were becoming a part of myself as well. Day after day I truly noticed how Fajar and Yasmin would patiently interact with the students, loving them like their own children, paying care to their psychological as well as spiritual welfare.

In addition to learning English, I learnt so many other things during my stay here. For example, the importance and skill of water-efficiency (due to the village water ration only once in 4 days), how to manage garbage, teaching children the importance of separating organic and non-organic waste, and the ‘Sumpah Sampah’ or declaration and vow never to litter again and to always try to recycle ^_^

Some on the most memorable moments…i.e. Waking up everyday in Merapi and not quite believing I am there, completely out of my comfort zone. In this place I learned about the meaning of being grateful of life! Iyaa, grateful!

Fajar and Yasmin became like my big brother and sister, every night either while eating or relaxing in front of their house, we would teach each other stories and share a lot of things. About all the of the things that they have done and teach me.

Mount Merapi, English classes, art classes, homework help, the library for all the children and all the local people, and all for Free! Yes, It’s Free! Said one friend, “Ms. Yasmin and Fajar are two crazy people in this age of money money money! These days most people are just thinking about how best to make themselves happy, where as both of them just focus on how they can help these children to be happy, learn and play cheerfully.”

Aaaaahh, it’s not possible to tell everything here …. Fajar and Yasmin, thank you for being a big brother, sister and best friend. Thanks for the knowledge and this valuable experience.

Dear friends, Retno, Mas Vian, Lelie, Edo, Boffin, Endah, Abi, Neni, Adi, thanks also for all your wisdom, friendship and brotherhood which sometimes is a bit crazy, hahaha.

Really, to stay in the village of Pangukrejo, in the highest Red Zone at the foot of Mount Merapi and then be able to play and learn at Sekolah Gunung Merapi, and meet such incredible people has been one of the most incredible experiences that has been given to me.

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