An energy boost that doesn’t fit in a glass

Tiny Smets

Natural smile – excited – joy – girl power – hospitality – enthusiasm – warm and intense – cooperation – IKEA Vision. These are words that come across my mind when I look back at today.

The girls we met

The girls we met

We started the day with a visit to an inclusive junior and senior high school in Baleendah, Indonesia. Children, teenagers, teachers and social workers were waiting for our arrival. As from the moment you got out of the bus and looked into the children’s’ eyes you are answered back immediately with such beautiful smiles and expressions of excitement and joy. This is really remarkable … they have a natural smile.

After the welcoming speeches we received a speech from Dessi. Dessi is a teenager who is almost blind. She spoke to us in Indonesian and even if we could not understand what she was saying her body language showed so much power, strong willingness to fight her needs, this little woman showed girl power.

Dessi

Dessi

After having visited some classes we were into sports with the boys, basketball it was. Great fun, great interaction, lots of joy, huge excitement, both parties enjoyed it a lot. To the question: ‘What kind of music do you like’ there was only 1 answer: HIP HOP

The hip hop boys

The hip hop boys

Kids in the hall

Kids in the hall

There were some parents present who have children with special needs. When you talk to them it is crystal clear that the program that Save the Children is implementing is serving its cause. Fauzi, 14 years old and blind, has been going to this school for 2 years. Before he could not care for himself, he couldn’t go anywhere without the help of another person. Today his mother told us that he has learned so much in this school that he has become independent and he also loves to go to school.

Fauzi

Fauzi

In the afternoon we went deeper into the mountain area, and visited a Community Based Rehabilitation centre in Pangalengan. A big delegation was waiting for us, among them were many mothers from the local family forum. The hospitality here was again excessive, the feeling was warm and intense (as like in all the other visits we had).

The village counts 16,000 inhabitants and the challenges that the social workers and members from the family forum have to face are the weather and the fact that it is a spread out area which makes it difficult to implement the Save the Children program. Nevertheless, they all showed a big enthusiasm to fight poverty and disability. Together with this delegation we visited a family with 4 children. One little girl of 9 years old has a hearing and speech impairment. The family lives in poverty and suffered badly from the last earthquake, their house was completely demolished. But what the head of the village told us was that the whole community helped out to build a new house for this family, so all can have a roof above their heads.

What also happens in this part of the village is that only the head of the village receives a salary from the government, the people who work for him are volunteers. The land that the village owns is harvested by the people living there, the money that they get from the harvested coffee beans is divided among the workers. This way they build together on their future by cooperating and letting no one down, and I believe that this is the way to go forward for them, to support each other, to be there for the weak, to make use of the strong. Together we can make it happen, it is the only way to make a better everyday life for the many people.

The village

The village

Tiny Smets

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tiny Smets

I’ve worked for IKEA for 25 years, starting in retail in one of our stores in Belgium and now in IT Demand. I’m Belgian, married, and have two lovely sons – 7 and 8 years old – who bring a lot of activity to my daily life. Even rainy days – and we have many in Belgium – are never boring!

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