By: Yolanda Utami Nilasari, Yayasan Usaha Mulia
Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM) recently hosted a visit from Asia Philanthropy Circle and like-minded education enthusiasts to our community development centre on December 12th. The aim of the visit was to show fellow practitioners a project that integrates education, health and community development activities based on the community’s actual needs. Established in the 1980s, the 15,000m2 centre currently serves close to 4,000 beneficiaries with programmes ranging from early childhood learning, community library, elderly healthcare, vocational training to organic farming.
The activity started with an introduction session on YUM’s overall project activities by Vanessa Reksodipoetro, YUM’s Executive Director, and the day-to-day operations of the centre by the Project Manager. The YUM Cipanas centre first started as a tuberculosis clinic then an orphanage for 50 children up until 2009 when a strategic decision backed by the Indonesian Social Ministry and Save The Children transformed the orphanage into a community centre.
After the brief introduction, all the participants were then accompanied to observe the Elderly Health Post project (Posyandu Lansia) where close to 70 elderly had gathered to receive a health check-up as well as get their monthly dose of socialising with fellow neighbors. Currently YUM provides health services to close to 200 elderly out of the 1,200 living in the area.
The visit continued to a nearby building that houses the Community Library, where the participants were welcomed with the Manuk Dadali dance performed by preschool students. Because the library and preschool are situated in the same building, the participants were able to have an interactive session with the librarian and the preschool teachers at the same time. Recently, YUM conducted a comparative study with PAUD SuryaKasih, a preschool run by APC member, Reachout Foundation. Felicia from Djarum Foundation discussed with our preschool teachers what they had learned from the one-week observation at PAUD SuryaKasih. Learning from each other’s best practices among APC members has definitely been one of the highlights for YUM this year.
After the preschool, the participants went to the Vocational Training Centre, observing the facilities that are used to run English, Computer and Sewing classes. As an after-school program, the training centre aims to offer skills to youth and women to better equip them for employment or self-employment.
The walk then continued towards the Organic Farm, which is a sustainability initiative started in 2009. Besides being a learning facility for young farmers, the farm also sells organic vegetables to individuals, restaurants and resellers in Jakarta. Today, the farm is almost 100% sustainable and hopes to one day be able to provide support to other projects in the community centre. While in the nursery, the participants learned how to transplant seedlings.
The last part of the tour was to the dorms that were previously used by the orphans and which are now used by volunteers and student groups coming to visit the centre. YUM welcomes local and international school groups to live in our community centre and spend time volunteering in various projects. All income generated from this activity goes back to funding the projects.
After close to two hours touring the centre, everyone sat down to eat a traditional sundanese meal called “Nasi Liwet”. Right after lunch, the group was able to share their impressions of the visit and ask more questions to the YUM team. Ahsin Aligori from Dompet Dhuafa noted that YUM has a very unique aspect, namely by having integrated and holistic projects, whereas not so many NGOs are able to provide this type of service which can increase the success level to poverty alleviation. A suggestion was also given to YUM related to the long-term impact assessment specifically because YUM has been serving the community for more than 30 years. This discussion led to a potential future workshop about social impact management for NGOs interested to learn together.
All in all, it was a wonderful day connecting with people working in the same field and with the same aim to provide services to those in need!