Every year in Indonesia, thousands of rural poor migrate to big cities in hope of finding a better life. But for many of them, the dream never comes true. A private charity, the Learning Farm, is taking the opposite path: teaching former street kids how to grow green, it gives them a chance to succeed in rural communities.
Sulkhan treads carefully past shacks where goats are busy digesting the next batch of eco-friendly fertilizer. A group of around 40 young men is gathered down the path, at the entrance of a greenhouse. They wear muddy rubber boots, which clash somewhat with their tattoos, long silver chains and body piercings.
Sulkhan asks them to sing the Learning Farm’s welcome song, in honor of their guests.
The boys, aged 15 to 22, are attending a five-month program at the Learning Farm to become organic farmers. But Jiway Tung, the group’s director, explains the program goes beyond learning a new trade. He says his school is a school of life.