My name is Judy Middelburg, I’m from The Netherlands and I worked for the Red Nose Foundation for six weeks. I had a great time with a lot of surprising experiences. I came to Jakarta with the goal to have a different experience than the other journeys I made before. I wanted to know what it was like to work at a foundation which works in poor areas, because I never did something like that before. I hoped to experience what it was like to work in a developing area, to help the people over there and to develop myself, my English and to meet a lot of new people. I also wanted to learn more about the Indonesian way of living. When I look back, I think I succeeded in all of this!
Before I started working for the Red Nose Foundation, Dan and Renny already prepared me about the areas and circumstances they worked in. They told me about the dirty areas they work: the poor houses people live in, the flies all over the place, the smell of rotten fish, the heat, but on the other hand also the motivating and enthusiastic kids. I thought I had a good view about the circumstances I had to work in when I had to go there on my first day. When we arrived in Cilincing I was really surprised by the circumstances the people really live in. You can’t imagine what it is like to live there until you go there yourself. Same story for Bintaro, again I was surprised to see how the people can live there.
I really liked it to see what the Red Nose Foundation is doing for all the kids in Cilincing and Bintaro. My colleagues (Dan, Renny, Nino, Dedi, Anggi and Mila) are really involved in the work they are doing. They put a lot of effort in teaching, circus, helping the kids and arranging scholarships for them and a lot of other extra things and events. Before I came here I already knew it was a very busy and professional foundation, but I was really surprised by how well everything was organized. The organization was bigger than I expected beforehand. I was surprised by all the extra things the RNF arranges for the kids besides the lessons they give and the arrangements of the scholarships.
On the one hand it was amazing to see the enthusiastic and motivating kids. They love to learn a lot of new things and they are really enthusiastic and disciplined to learn. When the RNF arrived at the locations, the kids were really enthusiastic and helped us with preparing the materials and lessons. On the other hand it was a challenge to motivate some of the older kids and to improve their English, because some of them were not yet that good in English as some younger kids. It was a challenge to involve them in the lessons and it was great to notice that they actually really appreciate everything the red nose foundation is doing for them, even if they don’t always show it. The differences in the English level of the kids are big, also among the kids in the same class. The RNF teaches English in a practical way and that makes the level accessible and good for all of the kids.
The kids were a little shy in the beginning because I’m a ‘Bule’, but after a while it felt like I was working for the RNF for a long time already. The kids tried to teach me the circus skills and they succeeded a little bit in that, but that can be blamed on me because I was not really talented and it is really harder than it seems.
Another big advantage of the Red Nose Foundation is the great team you work with. They showed me around during my first days in the neighborhoods they work in and they also showed me the way of teaching. They also told me a lot of things about the foundation and Indonesia. I’ve had a lot of fun with my colleagues; there is always time for a lot of joking, also with the kids. When we are teaching it is serious off course (with some little jokes in the mean time). They are involved in the life of the kids and they want all the best for all of them. The working days are long and you have to put a lot of effort in all the activities, but it also gives you new energy while working. The combination of all these things makes it great and inspiring to work for the RNF. My advice to students who want to have an unforgettable experience and really want to do something good, want to develop themselves and help others, should really try to arrange an internship at the RNF.