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PO Box A524
Sydney South NSW 1235, Level 11, 227 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2022 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

A day in the life of Nikson

By Opportunity International Australia

Sixteen-year-old Nikson’s day is a lot different to the average 16-year-old in Australia. 

Nikson is the eldest of three sons in a single-parent family living in a small rural village in Kupang, Indonesia. He was only five when his father left, but, as the eldest child, he felt he had to step up and help his family survive. His mother Marni relies on him to help with household chores and look after his brothers, all while keeping up with his studies.

Nikson and his brothers play soccer

 “I am the eldest, so I need to take care of them,” Nikson says.

For parents of school-aged kids in Australia, home-schooling during lockdowns has been a challenge – for Nikson's mother Marni, it was almost an impossibility. Online learning meant Marni needed to buy mobile phones for her sons, plus data. “The phones cost Rp.1,700,000 (A$163.98) each. I was overwhelmed – all the parents were devastated,” she says. With her income dwindling, Marni didn’t have that kind of money. “I had to borrow it. The phone credit is also expensive. It is now two years on, and the children have to go online every day.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 and lockdowns and restrictions continued into 2021, Nikson has been helping his mother shoulder the load.

Here's what a day in the life of Nikson looks like:

5am

Nikson wakes up in the bed he shares with his two little brothers and mother. He brushes his teeth, does his chores and cooks breakfast for the family.

orange toothbrush

7am

Nikson walks 1km to the market where he helps his mother serve customers and carry heavy things at the vegetable stall. Since COVID-19 hit, the fruit and vegetables that his mother Marni has had access to have been limited - just sweet potato leaves, banana flowers and papaya. It has been hard to make a profit.

 mother and son selling vegetables at a market

11am

Nikson returns home to have a bath and eat a lunch of vegetables before school.

 blue soap and yellow sponge

11.30am

Nikson starts school online using the simple phone his mother had to buy using a loan in order to keep up with his education throughout the pandemic. He studies science, maths, Indonesian and English.

school book

5pm

Nikson helps neighbours with any jobs he can to earn extra money for his family, sometimes taking out garbage or cleaning water taks. If he has any free time, Nikson plays soccer with his brothers before dinner.

 3 boys play soccer

8pm

The family share a meal that his mother has cooked.
Nikson then helps his brothers with their homework before he does his own.

bowl of rice and vegetables

 

10pm

Nikson goes to bed.

drawing of a house with palm trees 

Nikson’s family were able to secure a small loan through Opportunity International Australia for Marni to start her vegetable market business and earn a reliable income to keep Nikson and her boys in school.

A small loan helped Marni and Nikson - it can help them again. You can help by donating to Opportunity's Christmas Appeal and give families like Marni and Nikson’s the hand up they need to kickstart their businesses once more and recover from the decimation of the last two years.

 

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