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The sub-region of Jeruklegi, on the southwestern coast of Java, includes some of the poorest villages in Indonesia. Most people live below the Indonesian poverty line of $0.56 per adult, per day. A dropout rate of over 50% from local high schools is leaving many young people unemployed and disillusioned.
Working closely with students, parents and community leaders, Fr Charlie Burrows’ organization has begun helping schools to provide technical streams and thus reduce the dropout rates. Girls greatly outnumber boys in Economics and Accountancy, the first of the technical streams to be introduced.
With Australian Oblate support, Charlie and his people have already built an 8-classroom technical education block and a large engineering workshop at their SMK Yos Sudarso Senior High School. This is a step towards providing a 3-year course in automotive/light engineering, which will qualify graduates to work in the car manufacturing industry or as mechanics in their communities and farther afield. It will also help them to develop into responsible and contributing adults.
In 3 years time, the program will be catering for its full complement of 300 students on a course planned in consultation with the motor industry.
The individual sets of standardised tools, gauges, test instruments, etc required for the course are expensive. A Misean Cara grant of €88,463 to cover these costs is making the project possible.