Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On March 21st he visited PUSPEM’s project for women and children in the sub-district of Bantul on the island of Java:
PUSPEM became involved in Bantul following the earthquake in Java in 2007, introduced to the community by a neighbor who was originally from there. In addition to handing out clothes, food and money to the affected community following the disaster, PUSPEM asked the community what longer term programs they would most value to help them recover and increase opportunities. Their response: supplementary education for children and life-skills training for women.
PUSPEM has taken steps to establish such programs, but it seems neither is fully achieving its aims at the moment. GlobalGiving funds were used to rebuild a family’s home, one room and a partially enclosed area of which were meant to house the children’s supplemental lessons. These lessons are now being held in a community center, and the family is fully occupying the house, including the partially enclosed area where they are raising rabbits. The community center is only available in the evenings, so few children are now able to attend because it is too far from their homes to travel home in the dark. In a group meeting with the children and PUSPEM, the kids said 15-25 are typically present at the biweekly sessions, out of the 50 the sessions are intended for. Andi, founder of PUSPEM, said if they had more money they’d like to build the family another home and rent the current house in order to hold the lessons there.
PUSPEM had also donated a computer and a sewing machine to the children’s project, but Andi was surprised to find them missing when we visited. He said the community had likely sold them, perhaps to buy food. While far from affluent, it did not appear to me that malnutrition was a problem in the community. Andi said PUSPEM would have to give them another computer.
For the women, PUSPEM brought in trainers from Jakarta to teach about sewing. In a group meeting we had with them, the women asked for more trainings; Andi said money limited that. PUSPEM had provided them a sewing machine, as well. Andi said the women preferred the seven electric machines provided by the local government.
PUSPEM ended our meetings with the children and the women by handing out envelopes with small amounts of money in them.
I believe GlobalGiving is the only funder for this project and the project has yet to receive a significant portion of its goal, so it is perhaps understandable that it is not yet firmly established, but thus far there appears to be little progress toward project aims.
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Leader of Puspem Foundation