Lisa Parry

As Interviewed by Isabelle Szepatowski, March 15, 2014
"We don't realize it, but every kid in America has a chance for school and has an opportunity to make something out of themselves."
Lisa Parry

Introductory Profile: About Lisa Parry

Lisa Parry was born in Houston, Texas, in 1980. When she was two years old, her parents moved to the island of Java, Indonesia, where she lived until she was twelve years old. Her family is Christian and are also missionaries. While living there, she was around and grew up with very poor, underprivileged people. Growing up in this environment highly impacted Lisa and made her sensitive to helping people who were, and are, less fortunate than her. After she returned back to Texas with her family, she decided she wanted to move back to Indonesia as soon as possible. Once she graduated from the University of Texas in 2004, she soon moved back to Java, Indonesia, with an aim to help the uneducated street kids of Java and aid them in attaining a better life. She has been living in Indonesia since 2004.

Since she returned to Indonesia, certified as a teacher, she wanted to get involved locally and start helping out the children. She was especially drawn to the young teens who had dropped out of school and created their own culture of break dancing. To get started, she contacted groups of people who she had heard were contributing, and asked if she could learn from them and help her understand how to help the people around her who could not afford to go to school or were living on the streets. Through connections, she and her team started their own school to teach children from ages four to eighteen how to read, write, basic math, and a small bit of English. She wanted these children to have successful lives and not drop out of school just because they were behind in their grade. Not only does she help these children with their education, she also teaches many of them about the Christian religion.

Lisa currently lives in Indonesia so we had to Skype the whole interview, which made some parts really rough and had lots of static. I had trouble reading some of the questions I asked and had to rephrase a lot of them. Even though I had some trouble because of my nerves and thinking of other ways to restate the questions I was asking, Lisa was extremely patient, understanding, and kind. Many of the questions she answered, already answered the questions I was going to ask because of how detailed and descriptive her answers were.

Over the course of the interview, we talked about many topics of social injustice. The main issues we started talking about was poverty, but the conversation shifted into overcoming poverty through education. Her main goal was to help give the children hope and guidance through education as a way out of poverty. We also covered the topic of children’s rights which led into a conversation on working with women’s rights. She even shared with me a little about her religious beliefs and how they helped her teach the children with compassion. At the end of the interview, she shared how even though she has been running this school and helping children for the past ten years, it has been a growing experience and she is still learning while teaching. Overall, I think I had a very successful interview with Lisa Parry.