Mathi (43) comes from Sri Lanka and is now living in Medan, North Sumatra in Indonesia.
“Being a migrant is very painful, mentally and physically. Leaving my family, my wife and son behind to seek asylum in a foreign land because of the war, means living a life that is bleak and full of uncertainties.
I used to feel so bored sitting all alone in my room. One day while I was having a cup of tea and looking out my window I saw all the little children of my fellow migrants playing on the ground very cheerfully, unaware about what the future might hold. They inspired me!
I told myself that I shouldn’t be sitting idle and wasting my time and talent. I should do something useful for myself and my community. I took stock of my abilities and realized the thing I had to offer them was my passion for teaching. Unfortunately, we can’t send our children to formal schools in Medan like the locals.
When I shared my thoughts with my friends Suresh and Selvi they said they’d had exactly the same idea! It all clicked so well. So we called all the parents in for a talk and explained our intentions. All of them welcomed our idea and agreed to send their children to attend our classes.
Now we have 25 Sri Lankan and Somali children aged between six to 12 years old and the classes are going very well. We run the classes from Monday through Friday, from 8.00 am till 3.00 pm just like a regular school, only we are unpaid volunteers.
The classes include the Tamil and English languages, mathematics and general knowledge based on school syllabuses used in Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia, and materials found on the Internet. If I can shed some light into another person’s life and make them a better person, then why not? It makes me feel like a very complete person.
The only thing I could dream of is to be reunited with my family resettled in a peaceful country. I ask for nothing more.”
Read the full story about the school here.