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Education and Peace for Children

Lilis Sunarni (34) had never dreamed to become the founder of PAUD (Early Childhood Education) which is a place to study for children with low economic backgrounds. But the call to make changes in her neighborhood has made this woman, who used to work in an convection factory, finally set up the An-Nur PAUD. This PAUD has been running for six years.

"The reason I founded PAUD is because for me every child has the same opportunity to get an education. I want to dispel the belief that education is expensive," explained the mother who has been assisted by Wahid Foundation for 1 year 3 months.

Furthermore, this woman from Duren Seribu Village, Sawangan, Depok said that she initially founded PAUD because she saw mothers in her area often having problems to enroll their children in PAUD or kindergartens due to their high fees.

In the beginning Lilis rented a prayer room in her neighborhood and paid two teachers while she continued to work in a convection factory. But over time, the two teachers resigned because their salary was indeed mediocre. Moreover, Lilis only charged IDR 35,000 per month to parents whose children enroll in her PAUD. Even, there are also parents who cannot pay school fees.

The obstacles did not just stop there. Lilis was once hit by an unpleasant issue which said that her PAUD was commercial and that her students liked writing on the walls of the prayer room. Fortunately this problem was immediately resolved when Lilis, the mother of Muhammad Raihan Fadillah (11) and Adelia Faranisa Aznii (3), received a loan of IDR 10,000,000 from the Koperasi Cinta Damai (Peace-loving Cooperative) to build her school.

Today the An-Nur PAUD has a permanent building erected in the backyard of Lilis’ parents' house. "I am very grateful, there is no need to worry about where the children are going to study. Now, I just focus on how to provide quality education to them," explained Lilis.

The opportunity to become a teacher is not wasted by Lilis. In fact, this is actually a way for her to spread the meaning of peace from an early age to her students. Starting from small things such as appreciating one’s clothes that are not the same as the others’ and not mocking each others’ weaknesses.

There used to be one student with special needs where he could not walk or speak fluently. "Other children accepted him and did not think that he was strange. Even when we wanted to do physical exercise, we all exercised inside the classroom so that the student with special needs did not feel left out," Lilis said.

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Peace Village initiative aims to tackle the threat of radicalism by empowering communities, one village at a time, through cultivating social cohesion, community resilience, as well as promoting societal equality and respect for diversity.

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