High cheekbones, shiny dark hair and a polished look : Ita Kartika looks like a fashion engraving on her day off. This 39-year-old lady was born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, which she describes as a big cosmopolitan city. She graduated from a nursing school, but her income was not enough to take care of her parents. Thus, Ita went to Hong Kong.
Ita's said her work here was very exhausting. She lives in Kowloon Tong, in a small apartment and her employers have two small kids. One is an 11-month old baby. She gets to sleep with him and his mother in a tiny bedroom and has to wake up constantly to take care of the baby.
For that reason, Ita compares her day off to a breath of fresh air, her unique moment of freedom. She is “100% happy about enrolling in EmpowerU”. Before, on her Sunday, she did not have much to do. Now, she's proud to attend classes at HKU - for this occasion, she likes to dress up, wear nice clothes. This experience has made her more confident, and, in her words, has developed her "positive thinking" about herself and how she sees her future.
“I have decided that language should not be a barrier, and that I should keep on learning”
Since Indonesian are a minority of EmpowerU students, I asked her how it felt to be surrounded by Filipinos. She answered me that it was fine, because when she was around, her Filipino friends made efforts and stopped speaking in Tagalog. Sometimes they may even teach her words. Overall, she's happy to make friends from different countries.
Ita's main challenge resides in the fact that her English is quite poor. She sometimes felt impressed during class and would like to ask questions. Yet, she keeps quiet because she does not know how to formulate it. However, she listens carefully and takes notes cautiously. Ita wants to improve her English, step by step.
“I love going to class, so that I can learn more and more for my future.”
Ita is now saving money for numerous and ambitious projects. She already visited Bali, Sumatra, Yogyakarta in Indonesia. After finishing her contract in Hong Kong, she would like to discover other countries in Asia. Yet, Ita's dream, as a nurse, is to open her own small clinic in Indonesia, and to take care of elderlies like her mother. She plans to do so in a few years, when she'll have saved enough money. In the meantime, she shows great interest in the Public Health and Nutrition course, as she wants to be "smarter" and gain more relevant experience.