Pleased to host Mr. Alberto Gelmi

We have been pleased to host Mr. Alberto Gelmi for the last month at CRLC. After visiting school he was quite satisfied and happy:

“I was looking for volunteering somewhere in Indonesia for 2017. A friend of mine, who worked for Red Cross, mentioned CRLC and I found very easily on Facebook.”

Alberto worked with teachers on IELTS preparation, with students at school, and he also taught the online students an extra hour per day. He says he had fun and good time.

“I enjoyed working with teachers in the morning: your devotion is admirable. I guess that working with the online-class for a longer period of time gave us the chance to know each other better. It was moving and fun at the same time to see their performances the last day of school. They did work hard, and they all went the extra mile, each one according to his/her level and challenges. And they were so excited too, even dressed-up.”

We have hosted many visitors and guests like Alberto- they have educated themselves about refugees and about our lives. All guests return home with good experiences and better understanding about refugees.

“I will definitely point out how diverse your backgrounds can be: it is not just people living in Red-Cross tent, but it can also have the form of a small and young community like yours (ours): you provide kids and young adults with some basic education in a safe and loving environment. This is the best antidote for the long periods of time that you live as refugees, in which boredom and frustration become the most impelling problems. After these few weeks, I am starting to conceive of the life of the refugee as a limbo: you keep waiting for a call, but you don’t know when the phone will ring. CRLC does not solve the problem. Not in the least, unfortunately. But still, you are making the best use of your time and the students’ time: and you do it for free, when you could just stay home. Hats off!

The experience was enriching and humbling. The level of organization of the school surprised me. Especially since you do not know how long will end up living in limbo and you were not trained-that’s what I understand. Keep up the good work. And keep taking care of the family, as you call it: it is a powerful tool as you all are there and as you all, hopefully sooner than later, or even better, as soon as possible, will move to you next destination.” #visitors #guests



Ahmed Suroosh's Story

Twelve year old Ahmed Suroosh has been one of our keenest students for the last two and half years since he arrived in Indonesia. Originally from Ghazni province in Afghanistan, he studied up to class four in Pakistan.

“When I joined CRLC, I knew very little English. Now I have developed my English skills, and I have also improved in science, mathematics and arts. Today these are my favorite subjects, because the education system is different than Pakistan- I love this system now! During my time at CRLC, I have met many visitors from around the world, including Indonesians. I ask them questions and reply them in English.”

Today Ahmed Suroosh has friends from Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq in his class. He enjoys learning and schooling here, and has finished around 50 small books from library, which help him improve greatly. Ahmed Suroosh has two goals in his future: his parents would love for him to be a doctor, and he himself dreams to be a great football player. Besides school, he helps his mother study English and wash clothes, as they are alone together here; his father is in Australia.

“I am in search of a peaceful country, but I prefer to be with my father in Australia. I dream to be a great player, and then come back one day to CRLC to tell others that I was a student of CRLC.”

Ahmed participates in different activities, and his teachers are happy with his performance. We all know he has a bright future ahead of him! #CRLC#students



The Staging Post Documentary.

We are proud that our story inspire people around the world. The Staging Post documentary is about how the CRLC has been established and how the CRLC changed so many refugees lives. This film tells a different narrative of refugees' life as resilient, resourceful, innovative to create a community around education.

Coming week our friends Jolyon, Caitlin and Muzafar will be in Canberra screening the film at Dendy Premium Cinemas .Tickets are on sale now. You can get yours here:



Eid 2017 CRLC

There is a lot suffering out there in the world this Eid. Many families are in mourning around the world.

What is needed now is not more hatred. Dig deep for the empathy. Remind yourself and those around you that it is not faith, but inhuman conditions that cause inhuman actions.
Wish your Muslim neighbors well on this most important of holidays. And ask for forgiveness, as is the custom. For we can all do more to bridge the divides.
Eid Mubarak from the community at Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre.

For our Indonesian Friends. 
Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri, Mohon maaf lahir dan batin.
#crlcfamily #students #eidcelebration



Visit of Aqilah Nafisah Ulya and Erika Chrisiani.

We are working not only to provide children with education, but also to teach the local and international community about refugees in Indonesia. As with the international community, we have also built a strong relationship with local communities here. We have hosted many teachers, students, and researchers from Indonesia. Recently Erika Chrisiani, from University of Indonesia, and Aqilah Nafisah Ulya, from Padjadjaran University, Bandung, came on their final research to write an undergraduate thesis.

The two university students spent two months and one month, respectively, volunteering as teaching assistants, as well as sharing Indonesian cultures and traditions with the students, building up friendships. Both of them enjoyed being at CRLC.

“I felt like I was at home. Every morning, the warmest greetings with kisses and hugs from teachers, and great smiles from students made my time at CRLC one of the best I’ve ever had. Taking the chance to visit CRLC, I made a right decision and I will stay in touch with CRLC family, who have became my family, too. I am impressed by the high level of positivity and hope that the kids have at school. I will tell my community to come and meet each of the refugees, who are like us- they need care and support. Being a refugee is just the status they have today, but they are friendly, wise, and the most talented human beings on earth. These refugees have established a school and also manage it, which is really influential.

CRLC gives hope to the children and the families. Parents will no longer be worried about their children’s education, and the children will have a space to develop themselves, to be much better people. The volunteer refugees, who are tirelessly working to provide education for kids, are the real heroes, who manage, teach and love the kids. I was inspired when everyone at CRLC welcomed me, and lastly told us that the door is open for us to visit the school at any time.”

We thank Erika and Aqilah for being so supportive during their stay at CRLC. The students and teachers have benefited greatly. We wish both of them success and happiness in their lives ahead. #refugees #indonesia



Afzal Hamza's Story

Afzal Hamza is from the volatile province of Maidan Wardak, Afghanistan. After having fled the intensifying insecurity in his home country, he has been living as a refugee in Indonesia for about 14 months.

15 year old Afzal, along with his two younger sisters, has been studying at CRLC for the last 9 months. He knows that this is the only time and circumstance under which he could study without having to do other jobs to support his family. He believes he has developed much greater English skills than he ever did studying in Afghanistan. “Speaking with lots of English visitors helps me speak more fluently. I am happy to be a middle school student here.” His favorite subject is mathematics.

Besides school, Afzal loves football. “Football is a great means of activity for me. I have two missions in my life: I want to be a civil engineer, if I could. Second, I want to be a great footballer! I am inspired by Barcelona, Spainstar Neymar Jr.."

Afzal’s father is very happy because his two daughters and son study here at CRLC. He always visits the school, and takes the progress report of his children. The whole family is hopeful to be resettled soon, to any peaceful country, where they can start a life free of fear or terror. #students



10 year old Mansoora and her little sister Samira...

“I went to Kabul, and I went to Afghanistan, too.”

Meet the two cute students- from Senior Primary One and Junior Primary- who did not even know that Kabul is the capital city of their country, Afghanistan. Today, they are waiting with their mother in limbo for their unknown future.

10 year old Mansoora and her little sister Samira have been studying at CRLC for the last year. In the beginning, when these little kids joined the school, they were living very far away. “I used to wake up at 4am, and Samira at 4:30, because she was crying if she had not had a good sleep. Every day we left home at 5am.” Their mother had to take them to school every day, taking at least 3 forms of public transport.

The infinite love pulled them to relocate closer to the school. Both are happy making new friends, and love to play games inside their classes. Mansoora is very keen; she has been participating in dance and drama. Their performance at school is incredible.

“I like CRLC because my books are easy! In Quetta we had a lot of homework, and my books were difficult.” Mansoora would love to be president someday, and make her country peaceful. “I would like to fulfill my mother’s wishes- she wishes me to be a good person!” #students



Visit of an Australian Federal Member of Parliament, Mr Tim Watts MP.

Yesterday the CRLC was honoured to have a visit from an Australian Federal Member of Parliament, Mr Tim Watts MP. He was impressed with our work and the Cisarua refugee community.

We hope that Tim can take our message of education back to Australia. Refugees left their countries looking for safe place to send their children to school, without the fear of being bombed. We only want to learn, work hard, and contribute wherever we are settled.

Thanks for your visit Tim Watts MP! Welcome to the #CRLCfamily.



This week was very productive and the teachers and management at CRLC learnt a lot from the training from our Australian visitors.

This week was very productive and the teachers and management at CRLC learnt a lot from the training from our Australian visitors.

We received management training on various topics which we had identified as areas we needed advice. These included teacher recruitment, planning agreements, short and long term planning goals, decision making and conflict resolution. The training on these topics are necessary to create a sustainable team at CRLC. The whole management team enjoyed learning different techniques and we feel ready to face future challenges. We greatly benefited from Gaia's experience and are excited about the future of our school.

Miss Robyn Henderson worked with the teachers explaining how to best use the interactive resources they bought and made for the school. These resources are durable and reusable. They will result in more interesting and engaging lessons for the students. The teachers have started using these aids and resources in the classroom and the response has been very positive. We also were given some ideas on behaviour management and how to motivate students to do their best.

We are very lucky to have such amazing friends whose love for the children and school is endless. The support Gaia, Robyn and Zoe have given us is really incredible. Besides all those resources they have also donated 7 big magnetic whiteboards for each classroom which we were able to buy locally. We welcome Gaia Grant, Zoe Grant and Robyn Henderson to the CRLC family.



We are very thankful for all our supporters around the world.

We are very thankful for all our supporters around the world, and today we are especially thankful for our supporters in Australia. We were very excited to receive 120 kgs worth of science, maths and other teaching materials brought to us by Robyn Henderson, Gaia Grant and Zoe Grant. They fundraised to purchase these materials, and we are so grateful to those who generously contributed.

Some of these materials included a life size skeleton, world maps, interactive maths games and charts, sports equipment and solar system activities. These materials will help our teachers teach in new creative and engaging ways. The students will benefit greatly from the opportunity to learn through the interactive resources and it will enhance their learning experiences.

Gaia, Robyn and Zoe will be working with CRLC this week. We wholeheartedly thank these amazing friends for much love, generosity and remarkable support with interactive resources.



The most senior class of our school is studying the Earth and Space Sciences.

The most senior class of our school is studying the Earth and Space Sciences. The interest and enthusiasm for their studies is remarkable- every single teacher loves to meet such creative and hardworking students, who make every lesson interesting and easy.

The result of their group project is the formation of a solar system with limited resources, i.e wires, balls, papers, watercolors and scissors etc. The students shared their views and understanding after four hours working to form the solar system in their class:

“There are eight planets in the solar system today because Pluto, which was considered as planet, is no longer in the list. This is because it is a Dwarf planet, not big enough to be called an actual planet. We now understand much better how days and nights are formed, how weather changes, and which planets are the terrestrial planets in the solar system. The burning ball of gases with 15 million degrees Celsius heat is located in the centre of the planets. It is called the sun, which is the biggest object in the solar system as you see.”

“I found the activity quite productive and creative. Our class activity can be a guide for junior students to take the idea of solar system. I am satisfied by the group work under the motto of ‘we are a team,’” said the teacher. #crlcfamily



15 year old Sajjad is studying at CRLC.

15 year old Sajjad is studying at CRLC. Before coming to Indonesia a year and a half ago as a refugee Sajjad studied at a school in Kabul, Afghanistan. Sajjad has had the opportunity to continue his studies for the last year at CRLC where he says he feels safe and much more relaxed than he felt in Afghanistan. His interests at school include Mathematics, Science and Art, with his teachers observing that he has made significant improvements in English class.

“I am very happy when I meet visitors at school and am able to speak English with them. I have learnt a lot from visitors and the teachers at CRLC. When I first came I could only write my name and my parents name in English, but now I am able to give this interview in English.”

Sajjad recently sang the English song “Imagine” at the Australian Independent school Idol, where upon finishing he said he was very pleased with his performance, expressing how eager he was to continue learning English to assist him in further pursuing singing in English.

“I am very happy. I play football for the school and out of school. I want to share with all of my friends the importance of developing their English while living in transit. They should try and go to school and work hard to be able to develop their skills.”



Hania and Arzoo

Hania and Arzoo, two CRLC students, had a Skype discussion with students from Viewpoint School in Los Angeles. Both groups enjoyed sharing stories about foods, school subjects, sports, art classes and life as a refugee.

Congratulations to Hania and Arzoo, who woke up 1 a.m. in the morning to speak with the students in California. You make us proud!

Thanks to Khadim for arranging.



Every year, the first day of spring is celebrated as Nawroz by millions of people in many countries.

Every year, the first day of spring is celebrated as Nawroz by millions of people in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and many more. This day is special for many reasons. This is the day that the sun crosses the plan of the equator, where day and night are equal. First spring brings life back to nature, and everything grows anew. This special day begins another 365 with new dreams, happiness, loves, and renewed hopes.

During this ancient festival, people show their thanksgiving for nature by preparing special dishes of fresh green vegetables, visiting their relatives and friends, and making parties all around.

At CRLC, we are all in limbo here in Indonesia; however, this day is special, and we recognise it as the day for new hopes, New Year, and new dreams. We wish happiness, prosperity, love and lots of good news for the CRLC community, students, staff, and all the world during the New Year 1396. Nawroz Mubarak!! #crlcfamily



Do you think you could afford $10 or $25 a month to support the CRLC?

Do you think you could afford $10 or $25 a month to support the CRLC?

CRLC co-founders, Muzafar Ali and Khadim Dai have been resettled in Australia and America. Along with our first supporter Jolyon Hoff they continue to support and promote our school through Australian non-profit organisation, Cisarua Learning Inc.
If a few of our Facebook supporters could give a monthly payment of $10 or $25 it would go a long way to making sure the school is here as long as it is needed.

Thanks for your ongoing companionship. We feel comforted to know that you are with us on our journey. It gives us strength to carry on.

Please donate at



This essay by Lucy Fiske take out thoroughly the lives of refugees in transit and explains how we started the school.

This essay by Lucy Fiske take out thoroughly the lives of refugees in transit and explains how we started the school.

We are proud of being the first committed volunteers educating refugees and spreading awareness to the world about refugees.

Thanks Lucy Fiske for helping raise our voice.



Honoring International Women's Day.

Honoring International Women's Day, let's thank women for the amazing contributions they have made to our community. When CRLC started, it was women who were the first started teaching and with very limited resources. The men in the community were afraid of affecting their #UNHCR status. Women have built our community and it is because of them that our school succeeded and we can now educate many children and women. Because of these women, our students can have a better future.

So to the brave women who started an education revolution in Cisarua, today and every other day, we say thank you! #crlcfamily

Click the link for a video about CRLC women.



Yasmin Turkmani is a student of Senior Primary Two.

Yasmin Turkmani is a student of Senior Primary Two. She has been studying at Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre for around 6 months. She is happy to be in her class working together with her new friends. She had very little knowledge of English from her home country Afghanistan. "I could not speak English with visitors when they first came to our school but with the passage of time I have developed speaking and other skills in English.”

She loves all her subjects at school and she would like to be a good designer in the future. Her enthusiasm and commitment to her studies and all activities at school make her an outstanding student. Within her very short time at CRLC, she has participated in competitions and art workshops in Jakarta. "It was a life time experience for me to see the dioramas and sketch the diorama of our lives as refugees and express our stories through art and paintings.”

Yasmin’s brother Sami Turkmani also studies at CRLC in Senior Primary One. Both this brother and sister enjoy learning at CRLC as they were missing their home town and childhood friends so much. Today both are happy and wish the world to be a peaceful place. It has been about one year that Yasmin has been living as a refugee, but she continues to overcome all challenges and struggles. #crlcfamily



The #CRLCFamily Speaking and Meeting Tour

MELBOURNE EVENT - Hosted by Michael Bachelard

The Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre is filled to capacity, 200 people every day, and Trump is doing his best to ban refugees from America. So we've decided to double down on our commitment to refugees in Indonesia and S.E. Asia.

Between the 22nd February and the 5th of March, Muzafar and I are hitting the road to reconnect with our old friends around Australia, meet some new ones. We have a lot of plans for 2017. Come and find out how you can get involved.

In the past three years, the students, teachers, and managers at the CRLC have progressed incredibly. While we strongly believe that Australia should be taking more refugees, and releasing those detained on Manus and Nauru, we also know that we are making life changing, tangible and positive differences in refugee's lives right now.

This year we plan to reach further into the refugee community, uncovering the sleeping leaders and encouraging them to start their own CRLC style or online learning initiatives. 

With your help, we’ll release the feature documentary, The Staging Post, towards the middle of the year and create community, school and university screening programs across Australia. We’ll also take the film directly to refugee communities in S.E. Asia, as inspiration and proof of what is possible.

We know that we have the right team and the right model and we know that we can bring light to stranded refugees' lives. Muzafar can tell you first hand how the CRLC dramatically changed his whole family's lives.

We have nearly completed the process of becoming a Public Benevolent Institution with DGR status which means soon we can directly take tax deductible donations. In the meantime, we can take tax-deductible donations through the Documentary Australia Foundation.

We are going to need a lot of support. From boots on the ground to people with connections in boardrooms, CSR programs, and potential NGO partners. If you know anyone who might like to hear the story of the CRLC and join our #CRLCFamily, then this is the event to bring them to.

We have so many great friends around the country. We'd love to see you, have some laughs, tell some stories and maybe have a few drinks (for those who drink).

We so proud, incredibly grateful and humbled by what you have helped us achieve. Thank you

Jolyon and Muzafar

Dates, Times and Locations


Date and Time: Wednesday 23rd February, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: UNSW Ainsworth building
@Refugee Alternatives Conference.

Date and Time: Friday 24th February, 6 - 8 PM
Location: Sparke Helmore Lawyers
Level 29, MLC Centre, 
19 Martin Place, Sydney


Date and Time: Sunday 26th February, 1 - 3 PM
Location: Smiths Alternative
76 Alinga Street, Canberra City


Hosted by: Michael Bachelard
Date and Time: Friday 3rd March. 6-8 PM.
Location: The Age Auditorium. 
655 Collins St, Docklands


Hosted by: Kirsten Singleto
Date and Time: Saturday 4th March, 4:30 - 6:30 PM.
Location: Moonah Arts Centre
23 -­ 27 Albert Road, Moonah, Tasmania

Upcoming dates to be announced in Brisbane and Adelaide. If you would like us to present at your event that fits with these dates please let us know.



Amir and Matin are brothers who enrolled in CRLC just a week after the establishment of the learning centre in 2014.

Amir and Matin are brothers who enrolled in CRLC just a week after the establishment of the learning centre in 2014. They both were quite excited to make new friends as they felt friendless for a period. “I was excited to be at the learning centre. Later I understood that the learning centre was more than a learning centre for me”

Amir remained as the school captain for long time and led the group of prefects to maintain good discipline in the school. His hard work as a leading student, his respectful behavior, love for school and his unique talent inspired other students, teachers and our visitors.

Amir’s Father has been one of the many supportive parents from within our community, His dedication, effort and cooperation during his time working at CRLC helped the learning centre to be a better place. He was an outstanding parent who not only supported his own children at school but also he was a great help towards school.

“Since my birth I have been seeking asylum. I will not believe that I am leaving to Canada until I am sitting in the plane flying to Canada and I am able to start a new life with no Refugee label on my forehead. In Indonesia I learnt that change is possible anytime and anywhere. Muzafar, Khadim and Miss Tahira, who were also refugees, had a great impact on the lives of refugees and refugee children. I am inspired by all the teachers and leaders of our community.”

Amir, Matin and their parents know that Canada is cold but they are excited because it is a great country with friendly people and a wonderful prime minister Justin Trudeau. Both the brothers are excited to not be called refugee anymore. They hope that the world lives in peace, brotherhood and unity. CRLC wish this family much more success in Canada. #crlcfamily
“I want to do great for my country so that my name goes down in history as a good person” Said younger brother Matin.