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Find Me in the Sewing Class

December 12th, 2018

It all started three months ago with the first screening of applicants for the sewing class to be held at CLC Titian Tangerang Selatan (CLC Tangsel). The screening was necessary to assess the commitment of the applicants for a two-hour weekly course. Fifteen women made the cut and started sewing lessons every Wednesday.

Mrs Wiwin, whose son, Sahrul, is Generation 1 of the Tangsel Scholarship Programme and a seamstress herself, offered to teach the class. All the women seemed to ‘step on the gas’ from that moment on.

Three months later, these women can now make patchwork cosmetic pouches, short pants and soon hijabs. Within that short period of time, the togetherness and bond forged through these sewing sessions made them more bold and self-assured. It became a vehicle for self-discovery. How so? Their elected group head set some rules. They allocated time for evaluation at the end of each class, assessing not only progress of their sewing skills, but also their individual development, whether each person in the group was being responsible, committed, confident and a team player. A small cash contribution was also made in every meeting for buying cloths and other group purposes.

The sewing class added a different dimension to these women’s daily lives as housewives and enabled them to earn extra income along the way. When the improvement in the women’s self-esteem is considered, the impact is likely to permeate their whole family.

Just as Titian urges its scholarship beneficiaries to dream big, these women also did not shy away from dreaming big. They dreamed of building a substantial business capable of mass producing a range of products and hoped that there will be more training in the future to complement their aspirations. (NF)

Count Our Blessings

November 20th, 2018

We can pick up life lessons from anyone and from any part of the world. This is a beautiful reflection from a taxi driver in San Francisco (SF), United States.

In a day in SF, a rare taxi trip took an interesting turn. The cab driver was a Russian man, who if I did not speak to on the way from the airport to the hotel, I would have not known about his captivating story.

He was one of many who were attracted to the idea of moving to America, where it is known as the land of opportunity. In the year 2000, he was so convinced that Russia was hopeless, and so he left his prestigious job as a pilot and took his wife and his 14 year old son to the USA to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a computer programmer.

The second he step foot on ‘the land of the free’, he took a coding class at a local college. Because of his limited ability to speak English, he became a taxi driver to earn some money in the meantime.

Unfortunately for him, by the time he graduated college, dot com bubble, which was what he studied, had ended in 2001. Even if he had other skills, the prospect of 40 years old newly out of college programmer looked unattractive when the choices are abundant.

As the sole breadwinner, he has no choice but to continue driving taxis. Until this day.

This man has every reason to feel as if the world is unfairly against him.

Firstly, because now, after experiencing first hand dot com bubble bursting, the taxi industry is being challenged by services such as Uber and Lyft. He estimated 40K Uber and Lyft cars compared to 2K taxis available in SF.

Secondly, his occupation can be seen as a downgrade; from flying a plane to driving a cab.

Thirdly, many of his friends who remained in Russia have been doing very well. He would have felt guilt and regret leaving Russia just to face two major changes in the industries that he works in.

But this man is a happy chatty one. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, he focuses on what went right in his life.

Apparently, his son follows his interest in coding. His son graduated from coding school and works in a tech company in Palo Alto, as an engineer.

There is no trace of bitterness from this man, even when telling me about his successful friends in Russia. Rather he is grateful for the opportunities of his son.

We can choose to be happy or not by focusing on counting our blessings instead of focusing on the ‘mistakes we made in life’.

The choice is ours and I want to start counting my blessings again.

Wuddy Warsono
Member of the Board of Patrons and Treasurer

What Every Parent Must Know: How to Motivate Ourselves and Others

November 9th, 2018

On Friday, November 9th, 2018 a seminar on parenting was held, with the theme “How to Motivate Ourselves and Others” by Prof. Djamaludin Ancok, Ph.D, a seasoned Lecturer at the Faculty of Psychology of Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta. This seminar was essentially open to the public, but because it was held on a weekday morning, many men and teenagers who have to work or study couldn’t attend, so those present in the seminar were all women – either housewives or entrepreneurs.

As many as 32 participants joined the seminar. To kick-off the session, Pak Ancok played several videos about self-motivation. A chronology of Pak Ancok’s life journey showed how he achieved his success – examples of what must be done and what not to do. This was followed by how to motivate our children to achieve their success and how to correctly educate and guide them. In his opinion, Indonesia is an advanced and highly cultured nation, as evident from the past relics that still exist in the present day, so we do not need to be discouraged and dismayed in this fast moving world. Pak Ancok punctuated his presentation with lots of humor so that the audience wasn’t bored, keeping up their enthusiasm throughout the duration of his presentation.

After all materials had been presented, a question and answer session was held. Among many questions that were asked by the participants, two were highlighted: (1) How to manage emotions in moments of exasperation (2) How to deal with children who are addicted to playing gadgets. However, due to time constraints, Pak Ancok offered to answer participants’ questions by phone or text message. (DAP)