Newsletter Ribbon of Love October 2010

Few weeks ago, we received an e-mail from our prospective contributor. Before deciding to contribute through Ribbon of Love, she would like to know more about our programs and statistics. We replied to her inquiry, and we think that it might also be beneficial if we share our statistics to all of our dearest donors and friends.

The number of children in our programs.
Currently, we have 2 programs. The first one is distributing milk supplies and learning materials to schools which admit children from poor families in the surrounding areas. In the 2010-2011 academic year, there are in total 60 children under this program.

Our second program is a scholarship which covers the tuition fee (and school uniforms when necessary). There are 60 students who are receving our scholarships in the 2010-2011 academic year, ranging from high school (year 7 and above) to university students.

How do we determine our programs' beneficiaries?
We are working with local institutions, such as schools, dormitories, and co-operating with a number of volunteer-based field advisors who continually evaluate the program at the ground-level and give us advice on how the aims of the programs are achieved. Our current field advisors are either a member of the religious institute which runs schools or domitories, or a trusted member of the community which receives the benefit from our programs.

Another note is that the students' academic achievement is not our sole factor when we decide to help them, such as that in our scholarships program.
We look into the willingness of the student to learn, as a more important attribute in determining his/her success or failure.

There are also some questions regarding what these students/children do after school. Most of our scholarship beneficiaries stay at a monastery or church-run dormitory near to their schools. This is to save their transportation cost, since their homes are distant from the school. Note that our students are located in the rural areas of Indonesia, where the villages can be located up on the hills several kilometres away from the nearest townships where the schools are. Many of them go home every two weeks or so, on foot for several hours.

Our sponsored students, in addition to their main duty of learning, also help in running the monastery or the dormitory, such as working in the kitchen, cleaning the garden, or taking care of animals in the farm.

Our Vision
Our vision is to provide the education opportunity in Indonesia for children who can't afford it.

We wish that the above information could give a better picture of our programs. Should you have any questions, feel free to drop us an email at ribbon.of.love@gmail.com

Newsletter Ribbon of Love September 2010

During our recent visit, we took the chance to have an interview with Mrs. Esther and Mrs. Lastri, both are teachers at PAUD Maria Gunung Karmel. Mrs. Esther is a senior teacher and the current headmaster. She has been with the school since the very first day of its service. Being the most senior one, she would be the right person to give opinions about the progress of the school. Mrs. Lastri, on the other hand, is the newest teacher, and as a newcomer, we would like to hear about some of her expectations from the school. Below are some key points of the interview.


When asked about the progress and achievements which have been made by PAUD Maria Gunung Karmel, both teachers are proud of a number of awards which the school has received so far. "We received an award from the district government (Sikka District, NTT Province), as a competitive PAUD (Early Childhood Education) amongst other PAUDs in the district, which is proven by the students' performance in last year's school competition held by the district's Office of Education," Mrs. Esther said.

"What about children's nutritional needs?" we asked. "The school also puts a great effort in meeting the student's nutritional needs. Such an effort is put into action by running a daily "After-Class Meal" activity, which encourages parents to provide nutritious snack for their children to be enjoyed together after class. In addition, every children is given a complementary glass of milk (sponsored by Ribbon of Love) during meal."

And finally, "What are the expectations of both teachers from the school in the future?" "In continuing to provide its best service for children and the more general community in surrounding area, PAUD Maria Gunung Karmel should improve its quality of teaching, as well as school management, which is asking for more support from the government."

To this end, Ribbon of Love has given and will continue to give support for the school in terms of donation of books or other learning materials for teachers and students, in a co-ordination with the Carmelite priest who serves as the school's advisor. Any kind of contributions from our generous donors will be very much appreciated.

Focus Group Discussion on The Impact of Technology

Teenagers in Indonesia, inclusive of those who receive Ribbon of Love’s scholarships in Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, are often victimised by the rapid modernisation of our world. New technology inventions do improve people’s living, especially those in the rural areas whose lives are eased by the utilisation of electricity, irrigation systems, television, mobile phones, and many more. However, people seem to passively receive the ever-changing trends of technology and not being aware of the real benefits and tradeoffs of using the eye-catching gadgets.
As an attempt to raise such awareness in the young people, Ribbon of Love formed discussion groups in Maumere and Ruteng consisting a total of 21 high school students (12 in Maumere, 9 in Ruteng) who are enrolled in Ribbon of Love's Scholarships Program. They came from different villages around the Sikka and Manggarai districts, and the schools which they are attending are senior high school, vocational schools, and a boarding catholic school.
Below are some issues which were raised in the discussion held during our team visit last May.



Many people, especially those in the teenage groups, are greatly affected by what they see and what they hear from the media, such as the television. Families in most rural areas which are able to enjoy watching TV most likely put on the Indonesian popular soap operas. News programs are less attractive because the televisions are shared by many people and the general audience prefers the soap operas. As a result, it is not uncommon nowadays to see a youth having the hairstyle of some celebrities, noting that he/she is living in a hill-top which distance is kilometres away from the district centre. Not only the appearance, many are also following the way of speech used in the soap operas, which is far from the proper structure and grammar of Bahasa Indonesia. Not mentioning the expensive charges of electricity in the rural villages, those evidents show the diminishing identity of the youth in particular, and the culturally-rich communities in general, in many areas across East Nusa Tenggara. That undoubtedly is also the case in other rural areas in Indonesia.



In the last few years, the trends of mobile phones have been introduced in many villages. Although not everyone can afford it, it does help people in communities who were previously under isolation to communicate with others and exchange information. Furthermore, there are success stories of its usage for improving the markets of crops and commodities, which can help improve the economy of villagers who are mostly farmers. But, what was identified by the students is somewhat threatening. Although none of the students who participated in the discussion (and others who are under Ribbon of Love’s Scholarship Program) own mobile phones, they see their peers using mobile phones. They identified some of their friends who have become slack and involved in thefts because of the needs of phone credits. Even worse, the spread of adult content such as porn photos or videos among them is inevitable. Such are the challenges that are faced by the students as teenagers in a rural society.



At the end of the discussion, the students became aware of the threats of the use of technology, such as mobile phones and televisions which are relatively expensive, to the economical stability and the social and cultural identities of their society. At the same time, they became aware of the advantages that are offered by the effective use of technologies for the improvement of rural living and teenage lives, in terms of knowledge widening through information and telecommunication technologies and infra-structure development by the use of modern machineries.



A feedback from the students on the discussion activity: “I hope more similar discussions are held in the future, as it is knowledge-widening and strengthens our moral values.” – Adrianus Lami, 18 years old.

Newsletter Ribbon of Love June 2010

School Holidays are the happiest moments for students. In Jakarta, most parents will take a few days leave for spending extra time with their boys and girls, just to spend more time together. Others might plan a short holiday as a reward for their children's good performance at school.

This month's newsletter is a short evaluation of Ribbon of Love's activities in the last school year, and a peek preview of its planned program for the following school year. Please click on the image for larger viewing of this month's Newsletter.

Last year we had some logistic issue with our "A Glass of Milk A Day" program. But, a plan has been put in place for the next school year, which will eliminate the problem. Our scholarships program has practically run without any major issue. We are waiting on the school reports from the students.

We are also looking for volunteers to help us managing our activities. If you have time to spare, or know someone who is willing to help, please kindly drop us an email.

On behalf of the children, we also would like to thank all Ribbon of Love's friends and contributors for the spirit that has been given into our work. We certainly hope you would continue your generous contribution for supporting our vision of equal education opportunity for the children of Indonesia.

Book Collection
As the school year is about to start in a couple of days, we are collaborating with Vidya Sanggraha, a non-profit organization based in Jakarta, to collect used books for high school students (SMP and SMA). The books will be donated to secondary school students in a boarding house for boys, run by the Catholic Parish, in Wolowaru, Ende - NTT.

Newsletter Ribbon of Love May 2010

Ribbon of Love, during the Easter visit with some friends, conducted a creative waste recycling and nature-based project activities with the students. The project was conducted with different groups: 1. PAUD Maria Gunung Karmel in the Carmelite Monastery in Wariklau-Maumere; 2. the secondary school students also in the Carmelite Monastery; 3. the secondary school students in the boarding house for boys in Wolowaru-Ende; 4. a group of secondary school students (of mix gender) in a boarding house in Ruteng.
Read the complete story in the newsletter attached below.

Scholarships Contribution Request
In this newsletter, we also would like to request for your contribution as a contributor to the Scholarship Program, for the 2010/2011 school year. Each donator will fund tuition fee and books (if necessary), for one student. We will send out the profile and the evaluation report of the student to the donator. Kindly email us should you become interested.
Thank you.

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Newsletter Ribbon of Love April 2010

A week before this year's Easter season, Ribbon of Love was given an honor to attend a school reunion of one of the well known Catholic schools in Jakarta, namely SMU Theresia (St.Theresia High School). The invitation was gracefully accepted and was seen as a good opportunity to raise social awareness between many of the young people in Jakarta...
Read the full article in our newsletter attached below.












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Newsletter Ribbon of Love March 2010

In this time of the year, most students in Indonesia are preparing themselves for the final exam. Those sitting in the final year of high school will do the exam first, followed by fellow younger students. In this time of the year, Ribbon of Love has also started to evaluate the candidates for the scholarship program....
The complete article can be read in Ribbon of Love's newsletter below.


Newsletter Ribbon of Love January 2010

NEW YEAR GREETINGS

Happy New Year Everyone!!

The children from Ribbon of Love wishes you fullness of new year blessings.









Many thanks to our friends Albertus Prayudi and Meilany who donated their books and magazines.

In January 2010, we sent those books for the students of PAUD Mary Mt. Carmel in Wairklau, Maumere, as well as a set of National Geographic Magazines for teenagers at the secondary and tertiary level.


NEWSL
ETTER
We would like to start the new year of 2010 by reflecting on the simple things which we encounter on a regular basis during our activities. One of these is the story of our sponsored children in one of the villages of East Nusa Tenggara and their daily challenges to go to school.

Read the complete story in the newsletter (download here)