The rewards of Success

The work of Vega 1892 is based on a simple philosophy. When people are healthy and well educated they have a much better chance of solving problems by themselves – if they possess the tools to work with. That realization grew into the basis for everything we do. Knowing we cannot save the world but hoping to make one small part of it a little bit better, Meggi and I search for ways to help our friends realize their own happier, healthier future.

On our first visit to Medang Island we received a list of supplies needed by the schools and island midwife/nurse. The following year we delivered those materials then acquired another list which included a computer for teachers to learn on. From that modest beginning grew a wonderful success story.

Amir and Fadly are young teachers who grew up on Medang. Together they shared a dream of bringing the advantages of modern communication and internet to an island which only had electricity from 5 – 10 at night and no cell phone signal. As Amir once said, “If our children do not learn to use computers they will never qualify for good jobs.”

Over the following years we provided equipment for them to realize that dream. But it was not easy. First came computer labs for children to learn on at school. To power those computers parents subscribed for a small portable generator and fuel. When we brought a complete wifi installation to the island Amir and Fadly were ecstatic. They used that equipment to establish an island wide intranet, complete with small websites and an island news channel. When the island closest to Sumbawa received a cell phone tower, handphones were hung from trees to capture the signal. Internet arrived.

That same year Indonesia required all final school exams be taken live online. This put students without knowledge of computers at a disadvantage. It also meant children would need to travel to Sumbawa for testing. The combination was devastating.

Undaunted Fadly and Amir applied to the Ministry of Education to make Medang a certified testing centre. They also began accepting children from the surrounding islands into a free computer training program. The next we heard, Medang was an official testing centre with a 93% pass rate. But their success goes deeper.

Island talent began emerging in graphic design, website development and video editing. When COVID-19 struck students produced community educational videos, banners and posters to help defend their island. Coupled with a strict island-wide response, not a single case has been reported.

Meggi and I are proud of what our friends on Medang have accomplished and proud to have played a small part in their achievement which all began with the donation of a single second-hand computer.