Small Change for Big Change

Small Change for Big Change

Jerry, the teacher of grade one, notices that most expatriate parents just drop rupiah coins in any place or container in their houses. The highest value is 1,000 ~ 10 cent dollar; the cheapest cake or drink at the school canteen is 50 cent. The next values are 500, 200, 100, and 50 rupiah; they are practically no value, if alone. Jerry calculated that the coins collected from hundreds of families of the Green School would be a significant sum, therefore valuable for our project in Sulawesi.

Jerry brought his idea to his students. They were enthusiastic with the fund raise Jerry calls “Small change for big change”. The children made 20 (?) boxes covered with their colorful and beautiful drawings and distributed them to classes.

One by one, the boxes were returned to grade one. After a week or so, the grade one students gave the boxes to me—not all 20 returned. It was wonderful to see their enthusiasm in supporting my project. All values were in the boxes, including 50 rupiah ones; the unpredicted one was foreign coins, many of them; but the most pleasant was to see some “foldable” coins in some boxes. The total weight was probably about five kilogram.

Meidy calculated the total value of all rupiah coins plus banknotes: 610,000 (~ $60). And I read the sum to the grade one students at lunch and appreciated for their effort. They looked proud.

“I wish I could give you more,” Jerry said solemnly.

“It is all right, Jerry,” I said. “You and your students have tried hard. The result is not as important as your sincere intention to support my project consistently.” I feel so lucky to have a friend like Jerry. And, we both knew that the sum could have been much less if Mairead Furlong, a parent who has been a generous supporter, did not drop the ‘foldable’ coins 50,000 rupiah ($5) into the boxes.