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Kartini Celebrates a Milestone

February 27th, 2019

One year has passed and with only three active women left – Mrs. Ratih, Mrs. Inung and Mrs. Rita – the shibori or tie-dye group, called Kartini, is still rock solid. They faced many production challenges in the past year, from discoloration, sewing skills that still need to be refined to the marketing of their products. None of this broke their spirit but actually made them bolder and more confident and eventually made progress.

One of the most significant points of progress they have made is they are now offering shibori workshops to other women. Their first gig as trainers was on October 30th, 2018, a sweet milestone that the group is particularly proud of for it is Kartini’s one-year anniversary.

The Shibori Workshop was initiated and prepared by Kartini themselves, starting from making and distributing brochures and finding participants to preparing decorations. The enthusiasm for the shibori workshop apparently also rubbed off on Kartini’s families, as evidenced by Mrs. Ratih’s husband who came to help put up the decorations and Titian Scholarship recipients, who also lent their hands. This shows how close the kinship is between Titian staff, the Scholarship recipients and Kartini, which meant they all gave their heart and soul to help each other.

The maiden workshop was attended by 15 women and for a relatively modest fee – Rp. 25,000 – participants get four pieces of 50 x 50 cm cloth, consumption, gloves and a Kartini sticker. Compared to other shibori workshops – the price of which can reach a hundred thousand Rupiah, the Kartini workshop was very appealing for the lower-budget households who are eager to learn but can’t afford the higher price. The workshop lasted for 3 hours but that didn’t dampen the participants’ enthusiasm. Kartini made the effort to make the session very interesting by doing ice-breaking before they started, dancing together to induce concentration. Before the session ended, Kartini allowed some time for discussion about shibori with the participants and then closed with participants’ feedback.

One of the participants, Mrs. Dwi, in her feedback said “The course is very good. I initially thought the course would be boring with only shibori practice and then go home. But, as it turned out, even in a very cheap priced course, I was able to make new friends, absorb new knowledge and it wasn’t boring because of the ice-breaking session, the snacks and being able to share knowledge my about shibori. I hope a course like this will be held more often, to include learning new patterns. My kudos to the Kartini team.”

Kartini likewise hopes that they will be able to hold more shibori workshops in the future with different target markets, such as elementary school children and high school students, so that young children can learn more about their own culture. (NF)

My Time Volunteering at Titian

February 2nd, 2019

From the 27th of January till the 1st of February I was able to have the immense privilege to be able to stay at the Titian Foundation in Bayat and be able to meet and work with the most amazing, positive and friendly people. When arriving first at Titian I was greeted with a warm welcoming and massive smiles, and am so grateful to have had the pleasure on meeting Mbak Nurul, who had helped and looked after me during that past week.

Bayat itself is a very special place. Only an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Yogyakarta, it’s amazing to see the breathtaking scenery full of lush vegetation, and be able to bike ride among the villages and up to mountain to see an astonishing panoramic view. The Titian Foundation is situated amongst this, with its clean and vibrant colors of the centre definitely makes not only the learning, but also the teaching environment so inviting and lively. It was so sensational to see children from the village come in everyday to either read a book, to play with the toys, to color and make origami, or even to go on the computers in Titians very own computer lab.

What author Rita Mae Brown once said, “Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going,” resonates with the children’s interest and dedication to learning new skills, especially the English language. The kids are so positive and excited to come into Titian to learn. I am especially so grateful to have had the opportunity to interact and teach the kids English, with the help and guidance of Mbak Nurul, to witness the progress that the kids made by the end of the day was such a highlight. It was also such a privilege to have met the Alumni students and be able to offer my aid and encouragement about studying abroad, how to write essays and motivational letters. It was so gratifying to see Titian’s heartening guidance towards their students in motivating them to further pursue a University education.

Not only was I filled with gratitude to assist Titian that past week, but I was also able to learn about own Indonesian roots from them, by not only through the practise of speaking Bahasa Indonesian with the locals, the staff and the children, but also learn how to make Batik patterns on wood, go to the market early in the morning to buy fruit and tempe and later on learn about and how to make special Indonesian cuisine, (especially Tempe goreng – my favourite).

To the Titian Foundation, you have made my heart feel so full. Thank you to everyone that have looked after me and for this monumental opportunity. This experience has been so eye-opening and a life-time memory that I will never forget. I look forward to coming back very soon.

(Aliya Bella Penn)

Introduction Day at Lombok’s Hamlet of Teluk Kombal

January 19th, 2019

It seems that Lily Kasoem – Titian’s CEO and Founder – can’t just sit around when a disaster strike. It’s like there’s an automatic button that catapults her to go and check what she and Titian can do to help ease the pain. When a massive earthquake shook Lombok in August 2018, Lily wasted no time to go and see the destruction it has caused.

After spending a week assessing the conditions in several villages, she came across Teluk Kombal, a hamlet in the northern part of Lombok, where all the houses had been destroyed. To make matters worse, the community had to relive the horror due to the daily aftershocks, causing further trauma. She decided that Titian’s presence and contribution there would be of great benefit to the community. Lily immediately reported to Titian Board Members and managed to rally donor support to help fund a programme should Titian decide to work there.

The plan to setup a Community Learning Centre (CLC) and Scholarship Programme was then set forth. To ensure that community will be on board with our good intentions, we held an introduction day on January 19th, 2019, as a way to let the community know about Titian and ensure they were receptive to our work in their village.

After highlighting Titian’s programmes and achievements, two of our Scholarship alumni – Galih Khori Aldino and Suryanti – continued the session by sharing their experiences as Titian Scholarship beneficiaries. Both are from the early Generation – Generation 2 – who earned university degrees and have already secured jobs. They relived the despair they felt in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Yogyakarta in 2006. They were old enough when the devastation happened to remember it. Galih still choked while telling the audience the moment when he thought his education would end in junior high and his dream of a better future would have to be buried along with the rubble. Galih and Suryanti both encouraged the parents to give their children a chance to get a formal education, that their children will stand a better chance of getting good jobs if they are well educated.

During that week, Titian’s Scholarship Facilitator – Timo – visited three junior high schools and spread information about Scholarship Programme. A timeline has been set to collect applications and interview for prospective beneficiaries.