Hoping For a Home

Giving children some joy while they await a new orphanage

By Zack Petersen, Jakarta Globe
Thursday, January 3, 2013

When an orphanage in Tambun Bekasi burned to the ground, Hani Nandana and her friends started raising funds and collecting clothes, while the girls who used to live in the orphanage sifted through the smoldering ruins only to realize they had lost everything.

Yayasan Pembangunan Masyarakat Sejahtera (Foundation for the Development of a Prosperous Community), which housed 62 girls and boys, ranging in ages from 4 to 18, burned down in November as a result of an electrical fire, but groundwork for a new building has already been laid and organizers are expecting a May 2013 opening.

And it's only when people like Hani, who started charity group Help Us to Help with three other friends, come together to help others in need that we really learn how powerful word-of-mouth is.

Just think about these kids, said Hani, who has also helped raise money for tsunami victims in Nias as well as street children in Bekasi through Help Us to Help. They live on the mercy of others. There are kids there without a penny to their name. If people realize how lucky they are, they will readily give and support causes like this.

While the children await the completion of a new orphanage, they spend nights packed inside a leaky storage room adjacent to a mosque across the river.

During a visit to YPMS, the words of Rubiah Hadawiyah, a 9-year-old girl who lives at YPMS with her 12-year-old sister, stopped a member of the Count Me In team dead in her tracks.

She asked me where I lived, and if I had my own bedroom, volunteer Maya Martini said. When I told her I had my own room in a house in Bintaro, she told me that her dream was to have her own house one day.

Maya spent the day with the children of YPMS, chatting with them and learning more about life at the orphanage.

I can't imagine how it feels to live and sleep in a room with 15 other people and no real mattresses, Maya said, referring to the makeshift room the girls sleep in while the new orphanage nears completion. She's the strongest little girl I've ever met.

Maya returned a few weeks later with 10 dolls, a handful of children's books and more than 20 pairs of shoes, all from the American Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals after the organization decided to use its Christmas Bash Social to collect toys, books and shoes for YPMS.

Individuals from the American Chamber of Commerce and other organizations also donated building materials and made personal donations. Word-of-mouth and the holiday spirit continue to bring in additional funds and donations for YPMS.

Nugroho Budi Martono, the director of YPMS, is currently creating a roster so the girls can share the dolls, giving each of the 50 girls at least a day with a doll.

I feel so thankful there are nice people in this world who have been willing to step up to help these kids, Nugroho said. These small things mean the world to those kids. The big heart of the donators definitely put smiles on these kids' faces. Their reaction to the presents was indescribable happiness.

On the night of the American Chamber of Commerce event, Lin Lin Pranata, who works for the Berca Retail Group in Jakarta, stepped forward and offered to donate 60 more pairs of shoes.

By giving back through donating shoes, Lin Lin said, you're not only improving the livelihood of the children but you're investing in the next generation by making sure these kids are excited about going to school. Education is one of the best investments we can make.

The beauty of Indonesia is that despite all of the different cultures, beliefs and values, there are many caring people who will step up and help out the less fortunate when they can.

Yayasan Pembangunan Masyarakat Sejahtera
(Foundation for the Development of a Prosperous Community)
Jl. Cipete Raya No. 7
Cilandak, South Jakarta
Tel. 021 766 7772

This article first appeared in the December 30, 2012 edition of the Jakarta Globe


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