Hello! My name is Hector Betanzos, and I am a student at Princeton University. I am currently in Yogyakarta, Indonesia taking a gap year to volunteer at a local NGO called Rumah Impian (or the Dream House in English).
Rumah Impian or the Dream House is an Indonesian based non profit organization that rescues and empowers Homeless/At-Risk/Street Children by offering food, shelter, counseling, education, health care, extracurricular activities, and creative opportunities. The Dream House also operates a variety of shelters and classrooms for over 80 children in Yogyakarta. One of our goals is to bring greater awareness to the issue of homelessness while equipping children with skills needed to more successfully navigate society.
“One night, my wife and I were sleeping under a bridge, and then suddenly there was a stranger who beat and robbed us. In our pain, we were only grateful that our little boy was at the the Hope Shelter"
Sadly, our funds are nearly at an end, and we are projected to stay afloat only until February!! "This has been the single most difficult challenge we have ever had to face," says Yosua, my supervisor and head chairman of Dream House. This year brings many uncertainties for both the children and their families, so we ask that you please give our campaign a chance and donate. Even the smallest donation is a step closer to reaching our goal of $50,000 which will support us for the next two years!
You might be thinking "who are these kids he keeps talking about?" Well, they are the forgotten ones. The ones society turns a blind eye towards. The ones that run away from home and join gangs to protect themselves. The ones that are forced by their parents to work selling newspapers or snacks in crowded, dangerous, and polluted streets. The ones that live as beggars because their parents are unable to care for them.
Each child's story is unique, but they all share something in common. All are in need of a friend that will guide and protect them. The Dream House is that friend...
When Sammy started The Dream House over 11 years ago, his mission was unsuccessful at first. Many communities condemned Sammy's work and they accused him of exploiting children. They would kick him out, and even the local government was hostile towards his movement. Yet Sammy's perseverance and dedication did not falter in the face of defeat. He continued to offer support to any child willing to turn his/her life around, and it was in 2008 when two brave boys decided to transform their lives for the better.
What started out as a small house for two boys has grown into something much bigger. The Dream House now has 5 divisions, 80 kids, 11 staff, and 40+ volunteers from all over the world.
The Hope Shelter Division currently houses 10 girls and 5 boys in two separate houses. Their ages range from 8-17 years old. Our future artists, musicians, and writers are cared for by full time caretakers, and are given food, a room, clothes, health care, counseling, and an opportunity for extracurricular activities. Over the past eleven years, the Dream House has rescued 38 children from the streets. But we do not focus on numbers. We focus on characters. Throughout the years, the Dream House has seen street children grow up to become professional soccer players to chefs to computer technicians. Those who had been previously neglected were then able to fulfill their dreams because all they needed was a chance.
Ambon Working on a Cruise Ship
“I want to be a top and distinguished chef who roams internationally. I want to be an inspiration for all people in a poor and desperate situation like I was.” – Ambon, former street child
In our education center divison, we host free classes and play groups for 55 children living in impoverished areas. We hold classes 5 times a week in 5 different areas of Yogyakarta. The purpose of this division is to bring the classroom to the child. Often times parents are unable to pay for school fees so many kids simply do not go to school. That is where we step in. Our dedicated volunteers make each class fun and exciting by playing games, making arts and crafts, singing songs in both Indonesian and English.
The Parent Empowerment Division works to offer counseling for families in distress. We sit down and talk to parents and kids one on one to offer solutions to difficult family issues. Our goal is to eliminate the root causes of their distress to avoid any more broken families. In this division, we also help them apply for I.D. cards, birth certificates, and other legal documents because without them, parents and children are denied their rights as citizens of Indonesia. Children are denied the right to an education, the right to health care, and the right to become a functioning member of society. One of the ways we help is by paying legal fees for the paperwork as many do not have the means to do so.
Delivering Birth Certificates
The Happy Dream Kids Division is a private nursery/school for those fortunate enough to send their kids to school. They learn and play in a high class facility with two certified teachers.
Lastly, the street contact division is the division that makes all this possible. Our street contact team visits some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Yogyakarta looking for street children. Our approach is be their friend first and an NGO second because we firmly believe close relationships are the key to meaningful change. We do this by playing games with the kids, teaching them how to play music, and simply hanging out with them out. It is not always that easy however because sometimes the kids attack our volunteers by throwing rocks or initiating fights. At the end of the day, we hope to get closer to these children so that one day they may be willing to join the Dream House.
Unfortunately, the future looks grim. Our funds are nearly empty, and if this continues, the children of Rumah Impian may end up back on the streets. Dreams and aspirations will be cut short. Hopes for a better future will come crashing down. All the work the Dream House does to transform the lives of these children will come to an end: The Hope Shelters, the Education Centers, the Parent Empowerment Division, the Happy Dream Kids School, and the Street Contact Division.... gone. But if you decide to help by donating to our campaign, we can save the Dream House and continue to inspire other children to believe in their dreams.
Donations will be used primarily for food, school admittance fees, transportation, rent for the shelters/education centers/office/Happy Dreams Kid school, application fees for I.D's and birth certificates, clothes, health care, school materials, extra curricular activities, field trips, volunteer capacity training, and basic office operations for two years. Other expenses include possible repairs on the office, shelters, or education centers because the rainy season can sometimes damage our buildings.
If we surpass our $50,000 goal, some "stretch goals" include building a mobile classroom (a classroom on wheels), building a new shelter for the Hope Shelter children (NO MORE PAYING RENT!), and kickstarting new sustainable sources of income (selling food from a small restaurant, starting a laundry service, and/or hiring new teachers at Happy Dream Kids School).
If you are unsure about how much to donate, here are some reference points:
-$10 covers bus fees for one month for one child
-$25 feeds one child for a month
-$60 covers health insurance for all Hope Shelter children
-$100 pays rent for one Education Center for one month
But really, anything helps :)
Thank you so much giving our campaign a chance! If you have any questions please contact me through Go Fund Me or you can leave a comment on the campaign page. Here is the link to our website www.thedreamhouse.org
Follow us on our social media too! Links to those are on the website's front page. Please don't forget to share, share, share online and in person with anyone you know: at work, school, church, home, gym, etc. Thank you so much again for reading our campaign!