By Nelly Andon Br Torus
for Project HEART
Campaigning and fundraising for charity projects are really very tough, particularly here in Indonesia. You might be lucky with your fundraising campaign the first time around, but what would you do for your next campaigns? In the past few years, I have been volunteering for many charities in the UK, and I often find myself struggling to find words or strategies to ensure my campaigns reach people’s hearts. However, as now millions of people campaigning and fundraising around the world for many different reasons, the competition is fierce and many donors have lost trust in the small charities and individual fundraisers like us. Email campaigns are also less popular, due to the number of fake campaigns through spam emails over the years, but we are passionate, committed and belief in our projects and hope for the best.
We have noticed greatly that many people have looked down on our campaigns, claiming that our effort would be pointless. We were often told to leave all charity management to the big International charities, they would know better. Sadly the International charities have not heard of our tiny villages and probably their funds have not reached the poor people here, so we are trying to create projects with the local communities, to create doors to new opportunities to help develop children’s reading culture here in the villages.
We often see sneering faces when we get ambitious about our objectives and have heard a few sharp accusations and pointing fingers claiming that our intention is purely political to get into political posts within the Indonesian government, by way of bribing the local villagers to vote for us. The corruption and the bribery culture in Indonesia, particularly during the election seasons have affected a lot of people’s perceptions; hence good deeds such as the library project would often get abused as a result.
Right up to March 2012, all of our projects were funded from our pocket money. Since we started the library in March, we realised that we would not be able to sustain or develop the project, unless we have viable funding going forward to keep it going. We are fully aware the challenges ahead, but our motivation and commitment are very strong and this is not the time to give up. We have worked hard before, but if we work harder now we are sure to achieve better results. We are not here to dream or trying to achieve something unattainable. We are only trying to achieve the achievable, something we can do within our reach and we believe we can and with your support, we will be able to achieve greater.
We have been campaigning for a few months now, so far we have received great responses and supports from the public, mostly from friends and acquaintances, but we have only received a small number of books to date. We are extremely grateful to a few of our Facebook friends who have been very kind to donate some money to add into our fund to help us purchase a few books and magazines, a small desk & chair for the little office, some building materials to make temporary tables for the kids to write on, a large whiteboard and 2 bookshelves. With this very basic furniture and equipment, we continue to run the library daily and arrange the free English classes 3 x a week. Our sincere gratitude to all the volunteers who have made these possible.
In July this year, we successfully sent our first batch of books and equipment to Tobasa. We are truly grateful to our Project Manager, Tara Pakpahan who had a tiresly campaign in her workplace Samsung for some used magazines and books to add to some of the books we purchased from Gunung Agung, Jakarta. Tara works very long hours, and in between managing her family and her work life, she has very kindly shared some of her precious time to collect books, order new ones, arrange couriers, and ensure that the books arrived in Tobasa as we want. This required real commitment and motivation, and she proofed that she was so willing to make this project work.
We are extremely grateful to Mr Ojahan Hutajulu, a friend from Jakarta who has offered to ship the boxes for us to Tobasa. Our sincere gratitude to any parties involved in managing the books on arrival, particularly our teaching volunteers.
Massive thanks to everyone who has donated their used books and magazines, we ensure that these books will come very useful to children’s lives in Tobasa. God bless us all.