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Master’s Degree student Brelyantika (Tika) Indra Jesa (23) from Indonesia always felt called to work with children and youth. So, when the chance arose to help out at an orphanage, she engaged family, friends and relatives to help the unlucky orphans in Jepara, a city about 1000-km away from Jakarta.
Brelyantika (Tika) Indra Jesa
Brelyantika (Tika) Indra Jesa
© Asm. albumo nuotr.

Tika organized courses, held seminars and workshops to teach young girls how to make their dreams come true. Many of the orphans want to start their own businesses, but aren’t sure how to do it.

Despite winning a scholarship to study at Mykolas Romeris University (MRU) and living in Vilnius, Tika continues to keep a close eye on the project via social media.

- Why did you come to Vilnius?

- I won an Erasmus scholarship to study in an international Master’s Social Work programme at MRU. It was always my desire to study in Europe, so I could not afford to pass off this chance. Of course, there were some hurdles to overcome. In my country it is not common for a woman to travel alone. But I’ve had some experience traveling internationally as I went to a workshop in Germany in 2018 regarding climate issues. My parents support me. They know it is my dream to study abroad. I am excited to be here. I don’t have any difficulties adjusting. Being in Vilnius and studying here will help my career and life. I have met so many amazing people here already.

- What are the biggest differences that you encountered here, in Vilnius?

- Of course, the weather. It is much colder in Lithuania than in Indonesia. The food also differs and the fact that it is possible to drink water from the tap is a surprise for me. I adhere to eating foods prepared in the Islamic halal tradition, so sometimes it is difficult to find halal chicken in Vilnius, but possible.

I have to be careful about what I eat. Often, I prefer to eat fish here because Lithuanians eat so much meat and pork.

I have tried the Lithuanian potato pancakes and they are delicious! I am out of my comfort zone here in Lithuania, so I have much to learn and being here will broaden my horizons.

- What do you miss the most now that you are in Lithuania?

- Family, of course. I will be away for two years studying in Europe. I don’t have any plans to go back to Indonesia during my studies’ time as it is expensive.

- What are your plans when you are not studying?

- There will be holidays soon and some time for vacation. I plan to visit Germany and after that I want to go to the Scandinavian countries – Denmark, for example.

- You seem to find time for projects and for helping out orphans. How did you get the idea for this orphanage project, “Panti Carita”?

- I completed my Bachelor’s Degree studies and in 2020 I created this project to help disadvantaged children in one orphanage. Many of them want to start their own businesses. So, we have lectures with different businessmen. Some hotel owners for example visit and explain how to start a business.

These events are held once a month. We have 15 volunteers. Since the children don’t meet many people in their surroundings, they are excited when guests come to present lectures and to talk to them.

- How do you keep in touch with the orphans now that you are studying in Vilnius?

- I did a video call with them recently. Yes, many were sad when they learned I was going away to Europe for studies. I think of them often. I send them ideas. We don’t have much money, but we can encourage students to do their best and to pursue their dreams. Many of the orphans, who have lost parents, have emotional stories. It’s important to give these children support, help them to grow.

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