by Sammy Ladh
Is it possible that a former street child, who did not complete high school, become a trainer for chef candidates who are college graduates? It is possible.
Yes, I can! This phrase is popular in the world of sports, as a shout to boost the spirit of the competing athletes. In Dream House, this shout is used to boost the spirit of the former street children who are in the process of pursuing their dreams, as well as to inspire more children from the streets to rise up and start pursuing their dreams.
All children are blessed with different talents and potentials. These talents and potentials if generated by dreams and equipped with enough supports from parties who can facilitate and advocate, will become a great factor to lead a child into success.
Wisnu, otherwise known as “Ambon” among his street friends because of his fairly dark skin, is one of the children whom Dream House helps. Ambon lived in the streets because of family problems and influences from his friends. He met with us at Dream House seven years ago, when we were advocating street children in Djetis area, Yogyakarta. At that time, Ambon, the oldest of three brothers, was 15 years old.
Ambon is a multi-talented teenager. His most obvious talents are in musics and cooking. Unfortunately he was unable to develop his talents because he did not have the opportunity to do that. He even had to quit school before he finished junior high school level.
Dream House comes to the street with an approach of solidarity. Dream House volunteers position themselves as friends to the children met on the streets. The children are visited in the places they frequently gather, not to teach them or to bring them gifts or donations, but only to try to get to know them dan to become their friends. Many people may think of this approach as too simple, or even insignifficant, in trying to solve the street children problem, but for us at Dream House, to gain the trust of the children in the faith that everyone can change, is a very important thing.
So Dream House began to help Ambon to develop his talents. We found that Ambon also has a strong motivation and determination to change his life. We first helped him to finish his study in Junior high school level.
We helped him with his musical talents by having him involved in several music bands, with the goal to produce a music album. But after a while, Ambon realized that his true passion is actually in cooking.
He worked hard to develop his cooking still. Through quite a long process, in 2012 he was accepted to work in a German restaurant in Yogyakarta. He came in as a steward, his hard work and determination to continue learning dan developing himself, awarded him position as a cook helper after 2 months. 3 months working as a cook helper, he was given an opportunity by the management to develop himself through more training. After the training he was promoted to become a cook.
His talents as a cook was so much developed that impressed the owner of the restaurant, who tasted one of his food creations. After 6 months working as a cook, Ambon was promoted to become a chef. He was even involved in preparing new branches of the restaurant in other cities, and to give training to the new cook candidates, who are college graduates.
Hard work, determination, motivation, and focus on the dream pursued, are among Ambon’s life principles.
“My friends who are still in the streets can also be like me, if they are willing to pay the price of hard work and honesty. Opportunities will come to those who are willing to pay the price,” said Ambon.
Ambon is yet to be satisfied with his achievement. For him, he still has a long process to go through. Now he has a dream to become a famous chef, who is well acknowledged internationally, and who can be an inspiration to everyone who have unfortunate past like he used to have. Not only that, he also dreams that one day he can have his own cooking school, that he can help other people who also have talents in cooking but do not have the opportunity to learn or develop the talents.
Ambon’s dreams and succes story is both an evidence and a challenge for Dream House, that there is always a way if we have the courage to dream and to work hard to make the dreams come true. Beside Ambon, there are many other children, who are also in the process to achieve their dreams with Dream House. Dream House is now helping children with talents and potentials in musics, sports, arts, and education.
“Our dream is to see them realizing their dreams.” This is one statement that is agreed by all the staffs and volunteers of Dream House. The approach that Dream House chooses, reaching out to become friends of the street children, do take a long time and hard works, but some results have been made. At the moment there are 16 children who are helped by Dream House to develop their unique talents and potentials. We have Amat, otherwise known as Markus, who is now fighting to get a regular place in a football club in Sleman, Juli who is developing his musical talents, Dwi and Anis with their writing talents, or Restu who is doing very well academically, and Jihan who has strong organizational skill that she is now president of the students association in her school. Can they all get what they dream? Yes, they can. That is what we at Dream House believe.