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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.
It’s only been little over a month ago that our newest CLC in Lombok island just opened, but children and the students of SMPN 2 Pemenang, a junior school in Pemenang subdistrict, where Titian CLC is also situated have already been crowding the place. It gets more visitors when the school starts, up to 50 kids squirming around making noise and being rambunctious.
Our two staff must juggle around to bring order and yet lovingly assisting them. The children are allowed to play, that is if they have read a book. Moreover, the children will be questioned later about the content of the book, to see whether they truly read the book and understand it.
Our newest CLC has a library containing various books, for children to adult. It also has a computer lab where students can get hands-on learning, to learn how to operate it for homework or research. Our CLCs easily become a second home for our Scholarship beneficiaries and community nearby.
Titian decided to set a CLC at this school because it is easy to access for by our Scholarship beneficiaries. Its large field can also accommodate capacity building activities for the students.
This has been a busy week for Ibu Lily Kasoem, CEO and Founder of Titian Foundation and yet the most exhilarating period with the signing of MoU as a sign of commitment to Titian Scholarship Programme. In this academic year 2019/2020, the Scholarship Programme welcomes a total of 108 students to facilitate their continuing education in general or vocational high schools.
The 108 students are divided amongst three Titian centres, with 73 students in Bayat, Klaten, 11 students in Tangerang Selatan (Tangsel), Banten and 24 students in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. The MoU gets renewed every year at the beginning of school during the three-year Scholarship period.
Ibu Lily always make time to speak with the beneficiaries’ parents, especially for the newcomers. She persuades parents to lend their unwavering support in what Titian is trying to accomplish by prepping them to achieve the best version of themselves. Thus, they can afford to have a brighter future, which is a win-win outcome for the parents too.
Testimonies from current beneficiaries and alumni strengthen the outcome and impact of the Scholarship Programme. The current beneficiaries testify the change in their attitude, as they become more confident and bolder. Syehri Ally Reza, Generation 2 Tangsel, confidently said as Titianers (a term for Titian Scholarship beneficiaries), he feels as if he belongs in a successful-to-be group of people and that he is one step ahead from his non-Titian classmates.
Guntoro Yudhy Kusuma, alumni of Scholarship Programme in Bayat from Generation 7, who is currently taking major in Artificial Internet Technology at Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Yogyakarta, said he still apply everything that was taught to him during the mentoring sessions of Scholarship. He even kept a diary of his activities, his plan for the month and evaluates them later on. This is more useful than spending time racketing in social media, in his opinion.