Medan, Indonesia


Photographer: Sutanta Aditya

Year of Submission: 2016 (Educators Edition) 

In a tiny, open-air classroom beside a railway track in the city of Medan in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, Dosri Bakkara teaches poor children. “My students haven’t been lucky with their lives, so I have to find ways to help them,” says Dosri. Born in the nearby town of Sidikalang in 1979, Dosri knew she wanted to be a teacher even before she graduated with a degree in social studies from North Sumatra University. She started her school in 2007 using US$225 she received in severance pay after working at a non-governmental organisation and funds from her parents. Helped by volunteers, her pupils study reading, maths, ethics, spiritual guidance and other subjects. The school has no government support; instead it is funded by donations from Dosri’s friends and former colleagues.