Piglets raise expectations for a better future
Patrikx and Daniel are two young friends with big dreams for their future. Patrikx, 17, wants to own a business selling petrol because there are no petrol stations in his village. Meanwhile, Daniel, 16, wants to attend college and work in a mine to improve his family’s economy.
Patrikx (right) and Daniel are each holding a newborn baby piglet.
Their families’ limited income is a big barrier to their dreams—but an even greater barrier is their geography. They live in a village in Sentani, Papua, far from the city. In their village, access to transport, hospital and other facilities, is limited.
Patrikx is the eldest of three children. He lives with two siblings and his parents, who work in the fields growing cassava and seasonal vegetables to feed the family. His parents occasionally sell some produce to earn money for other needs.
Daniel lives with only his older sister and mother. His father died due to illness, so his mother works in a factory to support the family.
Even though they live in a village with limited facilities, an opportunity to do well came when the church in their village began a partnership with Compassion Indonesia. The two boys were registered with the programme.
“The Compassion programme in our village is a blessing because the children in our community can be assisted, starting from the cost of education and health to building character and changing their way of thinking,” says Martina, the centre director.
Throughout their time in the Compassion programme, Patrikx and Daniel, and all the registered children, have been learning to plan for their futures.
“We don’t only provide programmes so that children can get nutritious food, have health checks or additional classes outside of school. We try to change their way of thinking, so they are motivated to plan for their futures,” Martina says.
Discovering New Interests and Taking New Opportunities
In August 2019, the centre launched a pig farming class for youths between 15 and 18 years old.
Patrikx (left) and Daniel are learning to raise pigs—a prestigious form of farming in their culture.
In the local culture, pigs are a socio-economic symbol with a higher exchange value than other livestock. In various traditional rituals, pork must always be the main dish. In addition, pigs are also used to pay dowries, debts and fines. Based on this economic value, the centre decided to teach their young people about pig farming.
The centre bought 10 pigs aged around four months and bought animal feed. Accompanied by a tutor, Patrikx, Daniel and three other friends busily clean the pens and feed the pigs.
Through their farming class, Patrikx (left) and Daniel are on duty three times a week, cleaning the pens and feeding the pigs.
“Even though owning pigs is common in the village, my family doesn’t have any because we don’t have the money to buy them,” says Patrikx.
Apart from being busy at school, Patrikx and Daniel eagerly participate in the extra activity at the centre. As well as learning how to care for their animals and breed them, the boys are keen students on the business side, as they learn how to buy and sell to grow their herd and make an income.
“I’m happy to have other activities at the centre that can be done outside the classroom. We pick vegetables in the garden and feed livestock—it’s hard to get bored doing these activities,” says Daniel.
Patrikx (left) and Daniel are also tasked with picking water spinach in the fields to feed the pigs. They are each carrying an armload of spinach.
In February 2020, the centre sold three live pigs and three pigs for a very good profit.
To ensure the farm’s sustainability, the centre keeps two sows separated for mating so that the centre does not have to pay for new piglets. The pork we sell is bought only by residents around the centre,” Daniel explains. But for Martina, more than raising and selling the product is needed for Patrikx and Daniel to learn how to prepare for their future. She wants to set an example as well as provide benefits for them.
Learning to Save and Preparing for the Future
After selling the livestock, Martina and her staff invited the young members of the pig farming class to travel to the city with them.
“I thought we were going to the city to see the bank. I thought because we rarely went to the city, we were invited to take a walk—but I guessed wrong,” says Patrikx.
That day, Patrikx, Daniel, and their three friends walked into the bank to open a savings account in their own name. Each child was given money to save.
“All my life, I have never saved at the bank. I was astonished and happy because I could have my own savings book,” says Daniel.
Although the money saved belongs to each youth, they have promised not to withdraw the savings before they graduate from the Compassion programme. They will only use these savings after graduating to put toward tuition fees for further studies, or to start their own business.
“They are still in the programme and receiving support such as nutritious food, education, and health costs, so their savings cannot be used now."
Despite the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, Daniel and Patrikx and their friends have visited the bank three times to make deposits.
“The centre encourages me to learn new things I never thought of, including saving. The centre does not only care about my health and education; more than that, my future is well prepared,” says Patrikx.
Even though they have some savings, Martina wants Patrikx and Daniel to be independent and put into practice the knowledge they acquire at the centre. Both have one pig each from the two breeding sows at the centre—the piglets will be reared independently by them.
“Through the pig farm class, my mind was opened that work is not only limited to being a civil servant. Becoming an entrepreneur can be another option for me,” says Daniel.
After 11 years in the Compassion programme, Patrikx and Daniel have more certainty about their future. These two village children have a stronger foundation for their dreams of a bright future. Through the farm classes at the Compassion program, Patrikx still has the opportunity to open his business, and Daniel can continue his studies at university and later work in a mine.
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