The number of negative news about West Papua does not make these West Papuan children stop working hard to build West Papua. A number of students even get scholarships from top universities in the UK.
Billy Mambrasar is one of the West Papuan students who continues his Master of Science studies at Said Business School, Oxford University. Billy also got a scholarship once in Australia and joined a student exchange program to Harvard University, United States.
Billy who was once a cake seller in the traditional market could not believe that he can continue his studies up to Oxford University. “Hopefully this can be an inspiration for the poor children of Indonesia and other West Papuans that entering ivy league universities is not impossible,” said Billy.
Other stories come from Rio Albert, who is taking doctoral programs in sociology and social policy at Southampton Univeristy, in England. Rio is a child from Wamena. Rio admitted that he used to come late to school due to the unpredictable fog that covered his way to school.
At the time of junior high school finally Rio chose to continue school in Jayapura to seek a better education. “I heard from my sister who went to school in Jayapura that the school is better than in my village, the challenge is to stay far away from the family, because I have no family in Jayapura,” explained Rio.
Rio and Billy and other fellow students form a group in social media, “the Papua Scolarship”, there are also career centers, internships and courses. Rio and Billy want to motivate to the younger siblings to be more active in learning.
Not only that, Billy has also established an organization called “Kitong Bisa”, an institution founded by several other young Indonesia professionals. Kitong Bisa provide entrepreneurial training for young people in remote areas, especially in Aceh and West Papua.
Stories that are not less interesting came from George Saa, a graduate student, majoring in Materials Engineering in Birmingham, England. Previously he took a course in Aerospace Engineering in Florida, USA. While in high school he had won the First Step world competition at the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2004.
George has some dreams for the land of West Papua and Indonesia. He wishes the primary school to be free of charge, provides school buses and free lunch. “In my opinion, primary school should be free, school children should be picked up every day to go home, lunch should be provided free of charge at school, and special coaching programs should be given for special skills for junior high school students. For university, I envision to initiate research collaboration and complete research database system. For West Papuan campuses, I want to create a design center with small-scale manufacturing capability. My goal, namely ‘product creation’, is the creation of technology-based products that will be very profitable for the region in various aspects such as economy and business,” George said as quoted from bbc.com.
Picture: Oxford University