Our idea for an online platform came in the Summer of 2019, after a conversation with friends in Ambon. We were shocked to find that only a small number of students from Maluku got the chance to study overseas. To obtain a scholarship or work permit, Moluccan students had to pass their English tests (TOEFL/IELTS) and sadly the majority would fail the conversation and comprehension section.
The original idea was to offer one-to-one tutoring via Skype or WhatsApp, but it was decided that a virtual classroom setting via Zoom would be more beneficial as it would mean that you could capture more students at the same time. Appointed facilitators would sit in every class, who could act as a go between the tutors and the students. Furthermore, they could step in if the tutor needed help with a translation, liaise with the students and monitor the progress of the class.
With thousands of Moluccans spread around the globe, our aim was to create a pool of English tutors, native speakers from the USA, UK and Australia and fluent speakers from Holland. Add those Moluccans in Indonesia who either studied English or who had studied overseas, and you had your volunteers. No previous tutoring skills were required, just some common sense, commitment and enthusiasm. To connect all these people via an online platform with students in Maluku and you had the potential to tutor hundreds of students in virtual classrooms.”
The first meeting with the website designer was in late November 2019 and by the end of March our website Bahasabasudara.org was ready to go live. We chose the name Bahasa Basudara as it means ‘Talk to your Family’.
Our first class started in early May 2020 with only five tutors and were run in cooperation with the Language Study Centre at Pattimura University (Pusat Studi Bahasa Universitas Pattimura) in Ambon.
The rest, as they say, is history and the progress of Bahasa Basudara is a testament to the idea that when all of us work together, we can achieve greater things. This is exactly within the spirit of “Lain Bantu Lain”.