The sun is scorching early in the morning and the village is already busy getting ready for a selamatan (ceremonial prayers) following the placing of the first stone, marking the start of construction of Titian’s new CLC – Community Learning Centre – in the hamlet of Rebuk 1 in Rembitan village of Central Lombok district, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) province.
The CLC sits on a 600 m2 land, bordered by villagers’ houses on one side and rice fields on the other sides with expected six to eight months to completion. Rebuk 1 hamlet is practically like a blank canvas. The people of Rebuk 1 has been long asleep – in their wretchedness. They have never imagined a better life, let alone dream big. Therefore, Titian aims to shake them up and empower them to get a better life. The CLC will be the source of this empowerment through informal education. It will be equipped with a library, computer lab and open room for hosting workshops or community’s get-together.
Our notes for the village so far, water and sanitation is a challenge. Education is a challenge. When you think there are enough challenges to work on, early marriages and adult illiteracy are also on the list.
It is common for elementary school students in this village to run off to tourist hangouts at nearby Kuta Mandalika beach after school selling small souvenir items like woven bracelets. Often they will only come home for a quick dinner then off again to tourist crowd area and stay until late at night so their family could have little money to support the next day necessities.
Titian has sent four farmers for a permaculture course in Imogiri, Yogyakarta in March 2019, so they can apply the patterns and resilient features observed in their land and transform it into productive resources such as biogas and organic fertilizer. However, its application is still slow due to limited water. Titian is partnering with Soroptimist International of Jakarta (SIJ) to overcome this water and sanitation issue.
The Sasak women of Rebuk 1 inherited the skill to weave, which also indicates that they are ready to be handed in marriage. A working group (Pokja) for tenun (weaved cloth) is currently being prepared to enhance their skill to tenun songket weaving, a type of weave that uses gold/silver threads. To give a fair perspective, the common tenun that women of Rebuk 1 used to do only involve one bamboo-stick, but tenun songket may require up to one hundred bamboo-sticks. The complexity of the skill needed is intimidating even to the skilled weaver. Titian deems that with this apprenticeship, these women will not only improve their weaving skills and therefore their income potential but also most importantly – their self-esteem. This tenun songket training is also sponsored by SIJ.
Lombok is the first site that Titian venture outside Java island. It will be a long steep journey and Titian welcome donors and partners who share the same passion to improve the well-being of the underprivileged.