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Bridging Hearts and Borders
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Bridging Hearts and Borders: 
Flame Centre’s Visit to a Refugee Kindergarten School in Indonesia

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Photo: Flame Centre & Care The Displaced Children

(Published with permission)

On a warm August day in 2023, Wendy and I embarked on a journey that would touch our hearts forever.

Our destination was the Care the Displaced Children (CDC) in Cisarua, Bogor, a place that would leave an indelible mark on our souls.

CDC stands as a beacon of hope for forcibly displaced children from conflict-torn countries. Established in 2022 by five courageous refugee volunteers, what welcomed us was not just the sounds of eager young learners but also their unmistakable spirit of resilience.

With 58 kindergarten students (ages 4 to 6) and 19 primary school students (ages 7 to 11), the halls of CDC echoed with laughter, dreams, and aspirations of these young souls. The 19 dedicated volunteer teachers and non-teaching staff from the refugee community poured their hearts into nurturing these children, striving to give them a fighting chance at a brighter future.

With the conviction that it’s our responsibility to care for the larger whole, Flame Centre stepped forward with a donation for the CDC's entire year’s operational expenses. This gesture is to stand with CDC’s founders and volunteers in their noble mission of educating these resilient refugee children. It is also guided by Flame Centre's ethos to “grow meaningfully”, not just ourselves, but also the larger community.

 

During our visit, Wendy and I were introduced to the heartbeat of CDC, its founder and administrator, Naweed Aieen. With a warmth that transcended language, Naweed shared the stories of these children, their dreams, and the challenges they and their families faced. Aieen presented Wendy with a painting, a stark reminder of the repression of women in Afghanistan depicted in the reflection in the young girl’s eye. It is a masterpiece created by one of the students, a testament to their boundless talent and potential that lay within these young souls. Alongside the painting was a taste of culture and home - Afghani bread, a reminder of the strength and resilience that defined these refugee children's spirits.

Cisarua, nestled in the Puncak regency of Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, around 100 kms from the Soekarno-Hatta airport, has been a refuge for over 7,000 refugees. Among them, the majority belonged to the Hazara tribe, a community targeted by the Taliban due to religious differences.

For over a decade, Indonesia has hosted more than 14,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen, Syria, Myanmar, and others. Yet, it's a sad reality that the refugees are denied the opportunity to work or study in local schools.

There are 35 more children, aged 4 to 13, patiently awaiting their turn to study in CDC until funds are available to afford more space and volunteer teachers. Looking ahead, Flame Centre's plans for a joint community activity for the refugee children in June 2024. To everyone reading this, the invitation is open. If you feel moved to extend your hand in help or support to the refugees in Indonesia, please don't hesitate to reach out. 

If you’re open to helping in some way, please send us a message at <administration@flamecentre.com>, and together, let's make a difference. Your gesture, no matter how big or small, can light up a child's world and give them a glimmer of hope to escape the claws of injustice towards a better future.

- Arianne Teresa

  Client Support, The Flame Centre

Typhoon Agaton
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Typhoon Agaton Relief Operations

Flame Cares Typhoon Agaton -

Photo: Flame Centre

(Published with parents' permission)

Everyone wants to make a difference. When we were kids, most of us dreamed of changing the world, helping people out in the best possible way we can.  We, at Flame Centre, are realistic, yet idealistic to say that with little help, we can help people start building their lives. We. Believe that as we continue working in solidarity, our actions will become little drops that will create ripples in the community and in the future. 

 

The Philippines was recently hit by a Tropical Storm Megi (Agaton). Several areas in Cebu and Leyte were badly affected and some were totally destroyed. According to the AHA Centre (ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance), there were 341 damaged homes and more than 96,000 persons displaced. 

Flame Cares coordinated with the Local Government Unit of Barangay Tuburan,  Cebu, Philippines to identify a community that was severely hit by the Typhoon. Tropical Storm Megi (Agaton) happened on April 13, 2022, and our team came to visit 4 days after the storm and witnessed damaged houses, fallen posts, trees, and families hoping to receive little help from anyone who will come to visit their community. You can see the pain and struggle in the eyes of every mother, waiting for their husband to come home hoping to bring food and water so that they can feed their starving children and somehow ease the pain for one day. It is sad to witness that whenever an unfamiliar vehicle comes, you can see their face lit with happiness and hope. 

 

When we arrived in the area, people started to line up peacefully, unsure of whatever purpose we have in their community. Children are just running around playing under the heat of the sun and laughing - as if they are thinking that “everything will be okay”. We waited for the other vehicle to arrive and the people were just waiting patiently whispering to each other saying “this might be our lucky day”. As we unloaded the goods from the van, people came to help us settle the packs and water under the tree and went back to their lines. Children started running towards us merrily when they saw us unloading a bunch of toys, candies, and goods.

 

"You can really see the happiness in their eyes and in their smiles

– that alone is priceless."

 

As we started distributing the packs to each family, the crowd was filled with laughter and joy. “Thank you” are overflowing and children are very excited to receive their gifts too. One thing that touched me was children came to say: “Salamat kaayo ma’am sa inyong kaayo, gusto unta mi mo gakos ninyo pero basin mahugaw inyong gi-suot.”

 

"Thank you so much, ma’am for your kindness,

we wanted to give you a hug but

we are afraid to put stains on your clothes."

Aside from distributing water, food packs, and hygiene kits to 75 families, we also fed 50 children and had little games with them to somehow help them forget about the tragic things that happened to them during the storm. 

 

Kindness will really give us joy that is worth remembering.

As one of the recipients said, “Usahay ang mga anghel walay paku, niabot lang sila gikan sa layong dapit nga naka t-shirt, karsones ug adunay bulawan nga kasing-kasing.”

"Sometimes angels doesn’t have wings, they will just arrive from a distant wearing T-shirt, jeans and a gold heart.”

- Andrea R. Pailago

  Learning Innovator, The Flame Centre

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