An Indonesian student lives in Vilnius but oversees the orphanage project back home in Jepara

Tika organized courses, held seminars and workshops to teach young girls how to achieve their dreams. Many of the orphans want to start their own business but don’t know how to do it.

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

– Why did you come to Vilnius?

– I received an Erasmus grant to study at MRU in an international Masters program in Social Work. It has always been my desire to study in Europe, so I couldn’t afford to pass up this opportunity. Of course there were some hurdles to overcome. In my country it is not common for a woman to travel alone. But I gained some international travel experience when I went to a workshop in Germany on climate issues in 2018. My parents support me. You know my dream is to study abroad. I am pleased to be here. I have no adjustment difficulties. Being in Vilnius and studying here will help my career and life. I’ve met so many great people here.

– What are the biggest differences you encountered here in Vilnius?

– Of course the weather. In Lithuania it is much colder than in Indonesia. The food is also different and that it is possible to drink water from the tap surprises me. I stick to eating food prepared in the Islamic Halal tradition, so finding Halal chicken in Vilnius is sometimes difficult, but possible.

I have to watch what I eat. I often prefer to eat fish here because Lithuanians eat so much meat and pork.

I tried the Lithuanian potato pancakes and they are delicious! I’m out of my comfort zone here in Lithuania so I have a lot 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 study in Europe for two years. I don’t plan to return to Indonesia during my college years as it is expensive.

– What are your plans when you are not studying?

– Holidays are coming 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 helping orphans. How did you come up with the idea for this orphanage project “Panti Carita”?

– I finished my bachelor’s degree and in 2020 I started this project to help underprivileged children in an orphanage. Many of them want to start their own business. So we have lectures with different business people. For example, some hotel owners visit and explain how to start a business.

These events take place once a month. We have 15 volunteers. Since the children don’t meet many people in their area, they are happy when guests come to give lectures and talk to them.

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

– I recently had a video call with them. Yes, many were sad when they found out that I was going to study in Europe. I think of her often. I send them ideas. We don’t have a lot of money, but we can encourage students to do their best and pursue their dreams. Many of the orphans who lost their parents have emotional stories. It is important to give these children support, to help them grow.

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