Dressed in brown batik, a young accomplished Papuan woman was standing proudly besides President Joko Widodo. Her name is Alvionita Kogoya, she is a genius from Papua with astonishing goals. She is only fifteen years old, but her voice is loud and clear when she was explaining about her work and achievements after three years of perseverance in studying mathematics, in front of the number one person in Indonesia while everyone around her paid attention. She is the black pearl from Papua that makes Indonesia proud. That day, on August 18 2016 in the Presidential Palace, might be the most memorable moment in her life.
However, long before the luncheon invitation with the president, Alvionita Kogoya or usually called Nita has made Indonesia proud for her achievements. She has recently won a prestigious award in China. Her name was listed as a bronze medal winner in World Mathematics Team Championship (WMTC) 2014, which was held in China when she was still in junior high school.
The international award does not come over night. Nita is a living proof that with hard work and perseverance, anyone can go beyond their limits. She came from a place with limited access in education, she grew up as a child with less than shining academic achievements. Although his father is a primary school teacher, this girl from Nduga did not automatically become the most intelligent student.
Fortunately the local government of Nduga paid attention. Along with some other children, she was sent to Tangerang to study at the Surya Institute by the Government of Nduga. Under the guidance of Yohanes Surya, the Surya Institute founder, Nita, along with other children from Papua were trained in mathematics. According to Nita, she studied from 07.00 am to 17.00 pm. Then, she continued to study mathematics exclusively from 19:00 pm until midnight.
Yohanes Surya, known as the Father of Physics in Indonesia, he is famous for his attention to the Papuan children. He wants to give solutions for the education in Papua that is comparatively falling behind from other areas in Indonesia, hence the children of Papua have the ability to compete. Therefore, Nita became one of the children whom he coached to prepare for the Olympics. No joke, the target was an international event. This girl from a remote area can have a very prominent ability in arithmetic and geometry. She realized that she can achieve this ability in Surya Institute, where she studied by not only listening to the teacher but also by using special methods that can improve her academic ability as she have right now.
“Not only the students who should know the methods while the teachers only give the materials, but once in a while there should also be games while studying, using mathematics game. Don’t just give the formula, but they should know where the equation originated. If they’re confused, they should ask and then continue to practice it at home,” said Nita in front of Jokowi as quoted by detik.com.
What Nita has been through is a success story. After preparing herself to join the Olympics in China for over three years, she finally won a bronze. Not only that, in the previous year, she has also successfully won a bronze medal in Mathematics OSN 2012 and won the gold medal in an Olympic science and mathematics game in Asia, ASMOPS.
Alvionita’s Noble Dream
Realizing that she lives in a region that has no access for roads, adequate education, and health, Nita who is now a 17 years old girl is planning to study at the Medical Faculty of University of Indonesia. Therefore, someday when she has graduated, she could return to her village and serve the people in Papua.
“There is only one doctor per district in Papua, and the rest are medical orderlies. In the future, I would like to build a hospital. We do not have paved roads in my hometown so we always walk. even if there was an ill person, there is no hospital, it needs a helicopter to go to the town too, “said Nita.