There is a badminton team consisting of children living in a garbage dump or around and close to the area, in Bekasi. It is almost five years the Bintang Solibad Indonesia Club started and, by now, some youth live away from their original place, as a result of their badminton training.
Novia Rahmawati san (20) practices for 6 hours a day, in Yogyakarta. She was also a member of Bekasi’s team. Currently, she is part of the professional team near the headquarter of Yayasan Bintang Kidul which is the organization that supports the teams. In addition to domestic competitions, she joined an international tournament in Malaysia too, which is the first time to play overseas for her. According to Yayasan Bintang Kidul, she was also invited to train with the Indonesian national team, whilst over there.
The headquarter has facilities where the youth practice intensively, but for children from Bekasi, it means they need to live and to train away from home. Even if some have good skills and get selected to join the team, there are some cases where parents do not have the understanding of the given opportunity, whilst sometimes the teenagers themselves do not accept changes from their poor environment.
The youth who play badminton do no only become professional athletes. They can also develop and build their future through other various ways. With support from Yayasan Bintang Kidul, Nata san (18) works at “Decathlon” store in Jakarta; it will be one year he started working, in August. Following Nata san, also Sandi san, who is also a young garbage collector, is trying to join the Sports retailing company.
Nia san (21) entered university in Yogyakarta and is studying in the Faculty of Psychology. There are also other children who leave Bekasi with the opportunity to go to university or high school with a full scholarship.
Interact with world players
In 2016, Atlanta Olympic gold medallist and legendary Indonesian badminton player “Rexy Mainaky” visited the team. He played and practiced with the children, visited the Garbage dump, talked to the children’s parents, and talked about his own life. Recently, during Daihatsu Indonesian Masters, which is a world badminton tournament held in January, they watched some matches and also met with Indonesian Mix Doubles player “Debby Susanto” who retired during this tournament. Like this, they have opportunities to meet world-class players, thanks to a non-profit organization called “Solibad (Headquarter-France)” which is supporting them together with Yayasan Bintang Kidul. The name of Solibad comes from the words solidarity and badminton. Established in December 2009, currently they have projects in 10 countries around the world, many world-famous players have become goodwill ambassadors and donate to the association. In Japan, women’s singles player Nozomi Okuhara, in Indonesia, one of the top women’s doubles player, Greysia Polii and also Debby Susanto are goodwill ambassadors. Other famous players donate 1% from their income. Anyone can join in the 1% donation project.
Children can chase their dream through team activities, or some people can find what they want to do in the future by playing badminton. The eyes of the children chasing the shuttlecocks were shining.