Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Four students of Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) will build an Islamic Elementary School (madrasa) for the children of Trabeang Chok Village, Punnyea Krek District, Kampong Cham Province, Cambodia, that will be completed on Oct 3.

Bagus Wahyutomo, Kays Abdul Fattah, Ghazaly Imam Negoro, and Muhammad Majid Firman informed ANTARA in Bogor on Monday that for around a decade, the children of Kampong Cham had dreamed of having a madrasa that imparts knowledge based on Islamic values. However, due to minimum assistance from the local government, the children did not have a proper place to study.

"We saw several children who wanted to study Islam but did not have the place, so until now, they are studying outside the mosque built with Saudi assistance," Wahyutomo stated.

According to the plan, Wahyutomo, along with his friends and the Friendship From Indonesia forum, as well as Indonesians in Cambodia Unity, will build a madrasa, with two classrooms having a capacity to accommodate more than 50 children. Wahyutomo stated that the operational fund is targeted at around Rp100 million.

Wahyutomo revealed that their group did the crowdfunding act on kitabisa.com/madrasahkampongcham for the first time in January 2017. They delivered Islamic clothing through the assistance of donors from Indonesia and Cambodia.

The economical condition of Kampong Chams residents is poor, as most of them are farmers, factory workers, and fishermen. Being a minority coupled with the high cost of living in Cambodia has led to the residents seeking help. The residents highly support the madrasa building and even look forward to it.

Wahyutomo remarked that offering help to other countries did not mean that they have forgotten about their own. This could serve as a friendly bridge between both nations, considering the fact that the Islamic aid to Cambodia mostly came from the Middle East and Malaysia. He said that this time, Indonesians should take part in this initiative.

"Hence, our task is to help solve educational and social issues. If we wait for other people, the help would reach them in the next three or four years. As we are still able to share the goodness around, let us race to spread it to all," Wahyutomo noted.

While pursuing a backpacking hobby, Wahyutomo along with some friends had visited several countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations while attending an agricultural conference in Bangkok, Thailand, with the objective of initiating help for those in need. In January, the group decided to offer help to the Muslim minority community in Kampong Cham.

Wahyutomo expressed hope that the building project would run smoothly and would be able to tackle the problems that might arise during development.

"As part of our long-term agenda, in this madrasa, the children of Kampong Cham will learn more about Islam, and it will play a positive role for the people and Cambodias future," Wahyutomo affirmed.

Apart from building a madrasa, Wahyutomos group will form a team "Banana Pirates" to welcome Ied Adha by delivering cattle for qurban, or sacrifice. The plan is to deliver the meat of 10 cows to the people of Kampong Cham. Wahyutomo will visit the place on Sept 29 to deliver the stocks and oversee the location.

Wahyutomo stated that his side is still seeking more donations for the cattle. The price of cattle in Cambodia is around Rp6 million to Rp16 million.

"The funding from Indonesians will be directly used for providing the cattle in Cambodia, and we are also overseeing the building materials," Wahyutomo added.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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