English Club

Yayasan Sao Mere (YSM) reached out to WISE in 2020 to teach English to children in Lego. Parents who realised the importance of English language proficiency in greater educational and job opportunities approached YSM, requesting English lessons for their children. As one of the few organisations with team members that spoke English, WISE stepped up to meet the need and the Club has been running ever since. 


The 2020 EF English Proficiency Index placed Indonesia in 74th place in the low ability category for speaking English, a decrease from 2019 when it was ranked 61th (EF EPI, 2020). The annual research report measures the level of English proficiency of adults from 100 countries and regions in the world. Countries are then placed in one of five categories that best describe their speaking ability: very high, high, medium, low, and very low.

English is not mandatory in elementary schools (Lestariyana and Widodo, 2018), and taught for only four hours each week in high schools (Braine, 2011, p. 76). Low-income students from rural communities have little opportunity to learn English outside of school. In contrast, affluent parents in major cities can afford private classes for their children, where English courses are widely available. Consequently, students from these backgrounds do not qualify for overseas scholarships, exchange programs, as well as jobs that require English.

This unequal access to education has been identified as one of the main contributors to social inequality, as those who are less educated tend to engage in low-wage jobs (World Bank, 2016). The children in Nagekeo in Indonesia are among this disadvantaged group.

Curious to find out more about English language history? We have compiled some resources for your learning!


  • To equip students with an understanding of the English language, and an ability to read and write for everyday life 
  • To hone students’ language skills necessary to take up job opportunities in the tourism and other industries
  • To cultivate critical thinking, such as in the form of learning about environmental responsibility
  • To impart important guiding values such as respect, put this into practice by saying “thank you”, “please” and “sorry”


We have been running lessons for students between 6 to 12 years of age once a week. Lessons are held for one and a half hours in a backyard behind the Yayasan Sao Mere office. Occasionally, younger ones about 4 to 5 years old sit in. In total, every lesson sees a minimum of 6 students, with a maximum of 21.

"I lead the class and prepare icebreakers or games. While the kids take notes, I help with writing or pronounciation. Sometimes I become their partner to memorise vocabulary. During games, I lead or try to give the children opportunities to lead themselves!"
"I help to prepare games and songs that help to make the learning process fun and enjoyable for students. I also teach them how to read and write in Bahasa Indonesia, which is a new initiative of the Club. Their enthusiasm to learn always amazes me!"

Next steps

As of September 2021, the English Club has started experimenting with the idea of incorporating Indonesian literacy, as tutors have observed many children still struggling with the language. Classes have also grown to cater to as many as 21 children per lesson.

The club has also received interest from nearby communities and is exploring the possibility of expanding its operations. As such, contributions from donors to fund the expansion and purchase of learning materials is greatly appreciated.

How you can help

  • Donate to the Nagekeo team responsible for the developing the curriculum and lessons, as well as engaging students
  • Donate furniture, stationery, books, and other resources that would help the club.
  • Volunteer your time as a curriculum developer. Or if you stay in Nagekeo, we would love to have you for our physical lessons!