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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

Investing in education for the future

By Opportunity International Australia

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a health and economic crisis, but it has also been an education crisis – particularly for the world’s poorest children. At its peak, an estimated 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries were locked out of school.

In a small village in West Java, Indonesia, 19-year-old Acu suffered through 68 weeks of school closures when he was trying to finish his final years of vocational high school.

Acu lives in a makeshift home with his parents and seven-year-old sister Mila. The family sleep on a hard piece of wood that serves as a bed each night.

Acu, a schoolchild in Indonesia
Acu’s parents received an education loan from Opportunity so he could finish his studies.

His mother Acih and father Namin are banana farmers, but they only earn Rp.800,000 (A$77) a week to provide food, shelter, clothing and other necessities for their whole family. They never studied past primary school. For Acu, finishing school with the challenges of COVID-19 looked impossible. But then Acih and Namin received an education loan of Rp.5,000,000 (A$485).

Where poverty had prohibited them from being able to invest in their son’s education, the loan meant that they could now pay Acu’s school fees and access supplies for him to continue to study at home while school was closed 

Thanks to donations from Opportunity International Australia supporters, Acu was able to continue learning Mathematics, Indonesian and Civics alongside his favourite subject Light Vehicle Engineering – his dream vocation.

Through our EduFinance program, Opportunity provides vulnerable children like Acu with the opportunity to receive a quality education, equipping them for careers where they can earn sustainable incomes and break the cycle of poverty.

Opportunity does this by providing school fee loans to help parents afford school fees, uniforms and textbooks, allowing them to pay back the loan in small, regular instalments they can afford. We also provide school improvement loans which enable school administrators to invest in infrastructure and classroom upgrades, access technology and enhance learning practices in order to increase the quality of the education they provide.

Like her brother, Acu’s sister Mila dreams of one day graduating from high school, too.

Research has established that 48 per cent of parents in Central, East and West Java (where Acu is from) would appreciate an education loan to help them finance their children’s schooling.

For many of these families, these education loans may be their only option. Without them, their children may never return to class.

Thanks to the generosity of Opportunity supporters, Acu has now graduated high school. He is doing additional practical training in workshops, and hopes to become an engineer at Astra, Southeast Asia’s largest independent automotive group. 

To support no child being left behind and help more children like Acu get back to learning, you can donate to our Back to School appeal.

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