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How are things in Indonesia?
We would like to say: good!! And measured by the number of Covid cases, you could indeed say so. Officially, few new patients are reported (a few hundred a day against 50,000 a day six months ago). Since July, community activities like weddings and funerals have been restricted and people only leave their neighbourhoods when it is necessary: for work, health care or groceries.
But measured by economic growth, it is not going well. Exports have dropped and imports have risen. Healthcare is under enormous pressure. Tourism has come to a halt. Not only Bali and Lombok suffer from this, but also Jakarta and Yogyakarta. The international airports were opened two months ago, but mass tourism, especially from Southeast Asia and Australia, has not returned yet. There is only some domestic tourism, mostly from Jakarta or Surabaya.
In the field of education things are not going well: results of the national tests show that many children have suffered significant learning delays due to online education, limited school attendance and parents’ limited capacity to support them.
Where does the good news come from?
From our projects!! The coordinators and volunteers who help the seniors and the children, the staff of the children's homes in Bali and the Rumah Kita day-care centre all do their utmost, with good results. All children, their parents, the seniors, and their families have received clear information and instructions on how to deal with Covid and how to adjust their behaviour. As a result, so far not a single senior or child has been infected. The staff of the children’s home in Singaraja, where 60 teenagers live, manages to keep them healthy, cheerful, and motivated. For example, with a horticultural project. Well done!
Last month, four students in Bali received their diplomas. Three smart girls from Singaraja: Mas Suniati (accountancy), Damayanti (economics and management) and Astuti (accountancy). The fourth is Yudi, who took his master's degree in Marketing in Denpassar. For the three girls, this brings an end to a long period of studying and helping the young children at the Widhya Asih children's home. They will start looking for work. Yudi has been offered a new position at the head office of the children's home organization. As an experienced children's home child (we met him there almost 20 years ago) he will be able to make a welcome contribution to the organization.
Agricultural school pilot project
In the July Newsletter we informed you about an innovative project that was initiated by our scholarship coordinator Bu Amaliah, who herself graduated under Professor Murdijati Gardjito at the Agricultural Faculty of the leading UGM (Universitas Gajah Mada). It is in line with the national objective to attract more students by providing education with a practical component and to train more young farmers to prevent arable lands from falling fallow due to aging and lack of succession. The pilot project at a secondary agricultural school in the Bantul region that we started in the second semester of the previous school year, has been continued this year with new students who were selected for this purpose. An evaluation took place in November and the outcome was shared with us. The first conclusion is that the teaching staff’s cold feet have disappeared and that the practical programme was received very well by both the teachers and the students. The second conclusion is that there is work to be done for us: we will have to look for money to be able to offer more of these scholarships and perhaps also a business fund for graduates. We will try to raise extra donations from our private sponsors, and we are also searching institutional sponsors with a focus on the agricultural sector.
Thanks to our sponsors
In our previous Newsletter, we called for (extra) support for our projects because we had less income in 2020 and the first half of 2021 due to Covid. Many sponsors responded and donated generously. Extra thanks to Uta, Gerda-Marie, Noortje, Bpk Pok, Ratna, Edwin and family, Boris, Ronald and Illa, Pim, Cecile, Karel Jan and Mariëtte, Jos and family, and especially Regina and her daughter Kesuma, who made a substantial contribution (more than 1000 euros) through various creative projects, the use of a tip jar and a project at Kesuma's school. Fantastic! Many thanks to all sponsors anyway!! We would have liked to write that the negative income trend has been reversed, but unfortunately this is not the case yet. Our hopes are pinned on the coming period.
You are our best ambassadors: tell your friends and family! Forward this newsletter and add your personal message to inspire people to support a student's education or a senior's health!
Your support is more than welcome at our bank account in Holland: NL74ABNA084.21.36.932 (for the attention of Stichting Gotong Royong - Utrecht). For people who want to donate and who are living outside Holland, please contact us by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can find a proper method of transaction for your donation.
We wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Stay safe and take care of each other!
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