“Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night.”
One afternoon, a group of children practiced saying these words in Rambutan hamlet in Sempur, Bogor, West Java. Ranging in age from 6 to 9, they sat on bamboo chairs in a resident’s house and all seemed eager to learn English.
Sempur English Camp (SECA) was founded by its own residents in a ceremony led by Bogor Mayor Bima Arya in December last year. Subdistrict head Marisa said SECA was founded to solve poverty problems through education in the village, home to around 415 families. With children learning English from an early age at SECA, they acquire an added skill that could benefit their future.
There are around 140 students of SECA, all of whom go to a kindergarten or elementary school in Sempur. The children can take SECA courses at the Sempur subdistrict office, residential houses and integrated health posts.
Children learn English with Irmanda Sri Amri, a student of Jakarta State University (UNJ) and volunteer at the Sempur English Camp in Bogor, West Java, on Jan. 21. (JP/Theresia Sufa)
In developing SECA, Marisa is supported by her husband, Royno Sholeh Mayang, who is the head of SECA and works as an English teacher at Bina Insani High School in Bogor. Royno said the camp was founded after the Bogor mayor encouraged all subdistrict heads in the city to come up with innovations that benefited residents.
Marisa and Royno decided to establish SECA after English was removed from the elementary school curriculum, and also because they found that many underprivileged residents found it difficult to enroll in an English course. They expressed hope that the program would continue to flourish and eventually become a tourist attraction.
Prior to making the SECA program, they visited the English Village at East Java’s Kediri. During their time there, they observed all learning activities. They then decided that unlike Kediri village with its abundant English courses and professional teachers, Sempur would be developed based on the residents’ resources. The teachers would be university students and housewives who would volunteer their skills.
SECA started its classes in August last year. Learning activities are held twice a week with two semesters in one year. The fees range from Rp 25,000 (US$1.83) to Rp 125,000 per month, and parents can choose the package they find most suitable.
Yohana, a resident of Sempur, said she warmly welcomed SECA as she found it to be affordable. She also said that all residents of Sempur would gladly lend their houses for the program’s learning activities. “Mastering English is highly important, as it is a global language,” she said.
Bogor Mayor Bima Arya said he felt responsible for preparing the city’s youth for their future. “With SECA, I hope Sempur will be able to welcome foreign tourists. This movement needs to go on,” he said. (wng)