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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.

ROTA Volunteers’ Second Trip to Bayat

December 24th, 2018

Titian was happy to assist Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) in bringing in another batch of volunteers, the second group of the year.

About 20 students and 4 Lecturers from The College of North Atlantic-Qatar (CNA-Q) were assigned to do volunteer work at a vocational school in Bayat, Klaten. Around 150 students of SMKN 1 Ngawen from Grade 10 to Grade 12 participated in the volunteer sessions from December 17th to 21st. They were enrolled to learn about five topics: 1. Health and Nutrition 2. Entrepreneurship 3. Personal Development 4. Personal Safety and Security 5. Sustainability

On Health and Nutrition for instance, students got to learn about hygiene, even simple things like proper handwashing and dental care. On Personal Safety and Security, students got to learn how to create a secure password for their social media account and how to operate a fire extinguisher in the case of fire. In return for their efforts, the volunteers got to learn Javanese traditional music using the gamelan, and the Javanese language.

What was special about this particular volunteer trip was that it coincided with Qatar’s National Day on December 18th. Being far from home didn’t deter the volunteers from celebrating. ROTA organizers brought a lot of goodies: shawls, pins, bracelets and flags decorating the school meeting hall and the students too. ROTA Volunteers and students took turns to sing their respective national anthems, followed by a brief speech from the school’s Principal and a little bit of Qatari dancing to seal off the celebration.

In between activities at SMKN 1 Ngawen, the volunteers also did community activities with the Women Farmers’ Group of Jarum Village, which included making compost from organic waste, planting various kinds of fruits, such as longan, rambutan and jackfruit, and distributing garbage bins to the surrounding neighborhood. Volunteers also dropped by at CLC Titian to do flower pot painting with the children. (DWA)