The Jakarta Post : Determined graduates set up social welfare organization

Berita terkait Bina Desa BEM KM IPB di Koran The Jakarta Post.

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sun, 03/20/2011

“It might sound like nothing, but it meant everything to them when we came and played with them,” Marta Herdian Dinata of Kakak Asuh said about his visit to a school for children suffering from mental retardation.

They told stories and played music for the kids.

“They were so happy, they just needed friends to play with, just like other children,” he said.

Marta and his friends from the Faculty of Psychology at Mercu Buana University founded Kakak Asuh, a small social welfare club of 10 people that aims to improve the quality of living of under-privileged children.

The idea of setting up the organization came to them after they had finished their studies. They were determined to do more outside of school. Marta said the club cooperated with several children charity and aid foundations as well as with the student body at their university.

“We haven’t done much as we just founded Kakak Asuh last year, but we’ve set some agendas for the near future, including a mass circumcision [for Muslim children],” he said.

Besides teaching students about child psychology, the club also gives them insight into running an organization, Marta said.

“This is the least I can do for society. And in someways, it gives meaning to my life,” he said.

Similar to Kakak Asuh, Sahabat Anak (Friend of Kids) also deals a lot with children, especially street children Students from various universities volunteered to organize the first Street Children’s Jamboree in 1997 to commemorate National Children’s Day. Sahabat Anak is the extension of Jamboree, but took its own name in 2005.

“Most of us were final-year university students. We started it with all the limitations, but with strong determination, and we’ve made it,” Linayati Tjindra, one of the co-founders said.

Sahabat Anak now has seven children’s study centers in Jakarta: Sahabat Anak Prumpung, Grogol, Cijantung, Gambir, Manggarai, Tanah Abang and Mangga Dua.

Through Sahabat Anak, she said, she wanted street children to be able to overcome the stigma that they were naughty, filthy and impolite.

“We don’t want them to feel that way, and we don’t want people to think of them that way,” she said.

They gave the children math lessons so that they would not be cheated out of money, taught them how to read and tried to provide them with someone who could act as a role-model for manners and ethics.

“Just simple manners, like saying thank you and please, or that it is bad to use curse words. And we give them compliments when they do something well, so that they can do the same to other people too,” Linayati said.

She said that although the work could be stressful at times, the results were worth the effort.

“The feeling of knowing that the kids can continue their studies, can work in a much better place, is indescribable. It encourages me to keep working,” she said.

Besides social organizations that are independently run by students, students’ executive bodies at universities usually have social organizations that channel students’ interests to help develop society.

At the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) for instance, in each faculty, they have Bina Desa, an internal organization that allows its students to help a village further develop its potential. Kukuh Prakoso, coordinator of Bina Desa from the Agribusiness department said that he and his friends had gone to Ciaruteun Ilir, Bogor, West Java, and tried to help local people find another source of income.

“Many people there are paid to tie spinach into bundles for vendors. We’re trying to help them get additional income,” he said.

They came to Ciaruteun Ilir three years ago and held discussions with locals before finding the best way to gain additional income. They decided to make chips from spinach and sell them for Rp 1,500 each.

“We’re planning to sell it to markets next year. The chips are currently sold only to students or lecturers at our school,” he said.

University of Indonesia sociologist Ricardi S. Adnan said that student involvement in social organizations was not a new thing; and that some students had been involved since high school.

“But those who love to engage themselves to help people have more room here in college,” he said.

“Besides, they usually see more of their surroundings when they’re in college, and thus their empathy to do more for society grows,” Ricardi said.

To sustain the organization, he suggested that the participants pass on the knowledge that they gained within the organization to others.

“It won’t work well if the batten is not passed on. They need to share the core values of what they’ve done with their juniors.”

ditulis oleh. Novia D. Rulistia


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