Genashtim for Refugees

June is recognized as World Refugee Awareness Month and June 20 each year is World Refugee Day.

We would like to highlight the plight of refugees in Indonesia and what a good-neighbourly company is doing to help. Genashtim, a social-impact organization which is headquartered in Singapore and the Philippines, has brought a ray of light and hope to refugees in Indonesia through several initiatives.

At the prompting of some of his refugee-volunteer friends in Singapore, the founder and CEO of Genashtim, Thomas Ng, visited three refugee communities in Middle Eastern Indonesia in 2018. He found it to be a heartbreaking experience, yet heart-warming on the other hand. The refugees, totaling about 13,000, had been told by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) that they should not expect to be placed in another country within the next 20 years. With no rights to work and no rights to an education for their children, the refugees in the three communities visited set up their own learning centers and volunteered to work and teach in these centers. Each of the three centers has about 150 students with the cost per student to run the school being less than USD 5 per month. Teachers are paid a transportation allowance of USD 7 per month, a situation Thomas sees as being quite unsustainable.

Based on what Thomas found in the refugee communities, Genashtim initiated an Adopt-a-Teacher Campaign to raise funds to reimburse the volunteer teachers for their travel to and from work and afford them a decent meal at the end of the day. The company also funded the building of an additional classroom at one of the centers because of the unmet demand of students who were on a waiting list. Additionally, the company is in the process of raising funds to purchase tablets for the students. This will reduce the cost of running the centers as the tablets will eliminate the need for copying books. They will also result in improved outcomes for the students.

Persons wishing to adopt a teacher can contact Thomas directly at if they have any concerns.

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