Syarifudin Sabonama for the Remu River

Syarifudin Sabonama sat waiting in one corner of the room at the Office of the Head of the Sorong City Education Office. That morning, he hurriedly changed clothes and headed for the office. At 10.00 am he was neatly waiting.

The reason he was so hurried away was his meeting with a woman selling fried bananas. “Tante, it’s 9 o’clock, the children should go to school,” he said to the widow with four children. The mother just smiled. Then proceed with the story about the millions of rupiah that must be spent to send their children to school. “If there is money they will go to school,” the mother replied.

The mother’s answer pierced Syarifudin’s heart. He who has traveled here and there, has a great career in the environmental world, but still has neighbors who have difficulty attending school. Education should be accessible to everyone. Wanting to try to get an explanation about this education, he hurriedly went to the Office of the Head of the Sorong City Education Office.

Time is running out, the graduate of the Faculty of Law, is still waiting patiently. Until 1.30pm, he was just welcome in. The officials of one of the international organizations were only given a few minutes. Even the owner of the office did not see Syarifudin’s face when he spoke. Even though he is in the midst of conveying the question of how expensive education is in Sorong City which makes it difficult for poor children to go to school.

At that instant, Syarifudin was determined to make changes in his city, the City of Sorong. In 2014, he ran for a board member through the National Mandate Party. Even though he was not on the list of candidates, fate made him win and get elected. Currently, Syarifudin is already in his second term.

When he became a Council Member, he not only met the Head of the Education Office again, but tried to make changes in the education sector in Sorong City. Not only that, he also encouraged a background in environmental activism.

He built the Remu River Care Community to be able to save the river which is the pulse of Sorong City. Struggling alone in the DPRD, he tries to make the Remu River healthy again, which is already full of trash. Together with his community, he made people aware not to throw garbage into the river. Then he pushed the government to be able to build a temporary garbage disposal facility.

In fact, the peak is an area near the Swiss Bell Hotel Sorong, which before it became a garbage dump, he turned into an open space for the public. He was not alone, many elements helped him at that time. But a movement, must start with a leader who is willing to move.