Belonging – Student Dorms

Ob Anggen school now has 340 students and 50-plus teachers serving at four campuses. Recently, a man broke into one of our single teacher’s rooms and held an ax to her head, saying he would kill her if she called for help. Thankfully, her apartment- mate heard some noise and came in before she was raped. The man jumped out the window, leaving his ax and phone, so we knew his identity.

A similar incident took place last year to a teacher in another village. We caught the man, took him to the police, and pressed charges. He was released a day later because his clan said they would burn the school and police station down if we proceeded with his prosecution.

In response, we shut down the school, telling parents we would open again when the man was caught, and we could process him. So, community members spent three days and nights hunting for the man until they found him and brought him back.

As we debriefed with the students about this incident, I asked my group if this behavior was a normal thing for them. “Yes, all of us have experienced something like this,” they replied.

I said, “All?”

The boys in my group agreed, “Yes, for all the girls, this is normal here.” The girls added, “This is why we love the dorm; it is a safe place and we are respected by the boys and it’s why we don’t want to go home.”

During the meeting, our high school boys spoke strongly about the need for change and how it is vital we begin respecting the women and girls in our communities.

As a follow-up to this event, the men in the community started taking this “normal thing” more seriously when they realized that allowing such behavior would shut down the school and their kids’ futures.

Please pray for our students and teachers as we continue to invest in their lives.

Alliance Women has a goal to raise $36,500 to help fund the construction  costs of a family-style dorm that will provide a safe place for students to belong.

For more information  on how you can give to this project, please visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.

Papua Indonesia Student Dorms: Meet Irianti

Irianti is pictured between Berta and Desi, two classmates from her village.

Irianti is in the 10th grade and blossoming into a beautiful young woman. She came to us as an insecure, timid 2nd grader when we opened one of our Ob Anggen campuses on the side of the cloudy, cold mountain where she lives. Irianti has now lived in our dorm for nearly three years.

Very few girls are sent to school in the remote areas of Papua. Less than 10 percent graduate from high school. Most girls are married off at 13 or 14 years of age before they get pregnant, which compromises their bride price and can often lead to major conflict and even tribal war.

To keep their language and culture and to support their families, our students return home every three weeks during the semester, as well as for Christmas and summer breaks.

Irianti shared how when she was home working in the garden with her mother and aunties, they told her what a waste of money it was to educate her. These beliefs and words initially entrapped Irianti, causing her to doubt her value and avoid the risks of trying to learn new skills.

But over these last three years in the dorm, she has started to believe that she has worth and that she is a daughter of the King. She is bravely trying new things. We are so proud to watch her confidently leading worship, asking to learn to use the lawn mower, learning carpentry, and expressing excitement about being in our trail-bike  club.

This week she will speak before the president of the largest denomination  in Papua and some government dignitaries. More importantly, she speaks with the King—her Father in heaven—daily.

Alliance Women has a goal to raise $36,500 to help fund the construction  costs of a family-style dorm that will provide a safe place for students like Irianti to belong.

For more information  on how you can give to this project, please visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.

Download this story.

Building a Family-Style Dorm

Papua, Indonesia is one of the most unsafe places in the world for females. This is due to broadly accepted cultural beliefs and attitudes that result in terrible abuse. Our own ministry survey reveals that most women in our area experience domestic physical and sexual violence and abuse. This is one of the main social topics we address on our campuses.

SHAPING CHARACTER

Our dorm program is where we are seeing progress made in combatting abusive cultural patterns. Young men are learning to respect and protect women, and our young women are finding their worth and identity. Helping our students find their identity in Christ enables them to treat each other, and themselves, with dignity—a major component of our program.

We need to build another dorm to house more at-risk high school students. Our dorms follow a family-dorm model, which helps us in this area of teaching respect for one another. Dorm parents provide a model for healthy relationships  and help shape student actions and attitudes through group discussions and shared household responsibilities. We currently have two boys-only dorms and are planning to convert them into the family-style model for this reason.

INFLUENCING FAMILIES

To maintain their language and culture and to support their families, students return home every three weeks during the semester, as well as for Christmas and summer breaks.

OUR RESPONSE

Please pray for our students and teachers as we continue to invest in their lives. Ob Anggen school now has 340 students and 50-plus teachers serving at four campuses.

Alliance Women has a goal to raise $36,500 to help fund the construction costs of a family-style dorm that will provide a safe place for students, both male and female.

For more information on how you can give to this project, please visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.

Download this project profile.