My name is Pramudito Harjo Widodo. I am a 17 year old kid from Indonesia. I made a video for Teens Dream about how to tackle poverty, one of the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals, in Indonesia using free education, and I am really thankful that I won the Teens Dream Video Competition because of this dream. I am really happy that they’re flying me out to Washington to talk about my video and meet up with mentors that can help make my dream come true. Teens Dream is a really cool organization that wants to help teens with their dreams. It doesn’t matter if it is a personal dream or a dream that can help others! I am really grateful that I can get the help from Teens Dream to make my dream of helping Indonesia a reality.

Indonesia is still a developing country.  There are a lot of people suffering from poverty. I chose to make this video because everyday on my way to school, I see people who are begging for money, who are homeless and do not have a place to live they sleep in the streets. In fact, if you use the train in Jakarta, you will see people living in places like these. Even though the government has already taken actions to help people who live in places that are clearly not livable by making them cheap flats (so they can afford it and in some cases, give it to them for free), I can still see people who are living in places like these. Places that are not livable and even dangerous.

Sights like these really cracked my bubble. Before high school, I went to a private school where no one was poor. Everyone had nice cars and nice houses. At least, no one was under the poverty line. So I thought that every Indonesian citizen lived like this and had the same quality of live as we did. But when I moved to a public highschool, it was really eye-opening. I got a bit culture shocked. Not everyone is middle class. Some of my friends are poor, and thats really shocking to me because I never had those kinds of friends before. I was surprised when I heard my friends telling me stories about their struggles to go to school because their house are really far away, and some of them live in villages. When I went to my friend’s house in a village, I was introduced to his family and his neighbors. I went to his house quite often, so his family and his neighbours knew me well. One time, I spoke to his neighbour who is a farmer. He is 60 years old now and has a lovely family. We were talking about his life and his family, so I asked him if he was happy with his job and his life now. He said to me that he wants something more than this and that he did not want to be poor. He said, “I wanted to be a businessman growing up, but I didnt went to school. I have to help my parents when I was a child, so I didn’t have time for school, so that dream is long gone now”. I, then, asked him if he would go to nightschool and get his highschool diploma equivalent. But he replied, “And then what? What can I do after I get my highschool diploma? No one wants to hire me. I can’t write, I can’t use a computer, I can’t do anything.”

And that is when an idea hit me, maybe I can solve this problem. Indonesia is currently number two in countries with the most highschool dropouts. The Indonesian government has already made efforts to solve this problem by giving each citizen “Kartu Indonesia Pintar” which is a card that makes you qualify to have free education (funded by the government) until high school. But I want to help people who are in their 20’s or 30’s: the people who are in their prime to work but cannot get a nice paying job because they did not finish high school. I plan to do this with these steps:

  1. Make a free nightschool to help people that want to get their highschool diploma equivalent.
  2. Make a free “Skill School”. In other words, I want to teach people basic skills that you need to get a nice paying job. Skills like IT skills, public speaking skills, foreign language skills (especially English), writing skills, organizational skills, etc. This will help people, especially the ones that cannot afford to go to college
  3. And especially, I plan to erase this mindset that Indonesians have, which is, “It’s okay that I did not go to school. My mom, my dad, my grandparents didn’t go to school, and they turned out just fine.” I really want to delete that mindset because that mindset is what stopping us from improving.
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