Home Commentary ‘Program Pintu Depan’:  Empowering youth in Indonesia’s remote regions

‘Program Pintu Depan’:  Empowering youth in Indonesia’s remote regions

Since February 2023, the Yayasan Karsa Cipta Asa (YKCA) Foundation has launched its humanitarian initiative to provide scholarship funds for young people from remote regions across Indonesia.

Trips with bishops to numerous remote areas in West Kalimantan’s Ketapang Diocese and Papua’s Agats Diocese have left a profound impression and raised concerns. 

I was deeply moved to learn how my fellow citizens in those remote villages and far-reaching areas are still being “neglected” by the State, living in conditions without proper roads or electricity.

The difficulty of reaching their homes, located in the middle of nowhere and accessible only after hours-long boat trips, is daunting.

In early 2017, alongside Ketapang Diocese’s Bishop Msgr. Pius Riana Prapdi, we visited several indigenous Dayak Catholic communities in the parishes of Sepotong and Sandai. 

The journey, taking more than six hours by motorboat, involved traversing both inland off roads and river streams.

Years earlier, a significantly longer trip was undertaken with the Bishop of the Papuan Agats Diocese, Msgr. Aloysius Murwito, navigating through crocodile-infested rivers for 5-10 hours by speedboat.

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Strong Impression and Personal Spiritual Commitment

These pastoral journeys have left a lasting impression and serious concerns about the daily lives of my fellow citizens in these remote areas, who lack basic necessities like roads and electricity. 

The lack of public infrastructure facilities makes everything highly “expensive,” despite Indonesia’s independence since 1945.

As a journalist and humanitarian activist with a strong compassionate spirit from my Jesuit formation, I was often reminded of my past religious vocation by the saying, “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

After years of reflection and serious discussions with Royani Ping, my partner in the journeys with the Ketapang bishop, we both found a common good. Among other possibilities, a fundraising project to provide scholarships for young people emerged as the best option to “help” them.

Mrs. Ping, with her extensive experience as the executive director of the Bhumiksara Foundation, has successfully designed scholarship programs to support young Indonesians in becoming national figures with strong integrity.

Together with a humanitarian organization in 2010, she designed a scholarship scheme that enabled young people from Mentawai Island and Asmat in the Papuan Agats Diocese to become professional primary school teachers and nurses, respectively, addressing poor education performance and reducing high mortality among the Asmat indigenous people.

Pintu Depan (Front Door) Program

With this hands-on experience, we were convinced to design a similar scholarship scheme targeting different recipients, starting with West Kalimantan Province as our pilot project. 

The “Program Pintu Depan” aims for young indigenous people to return to their native villages to contribute to their development after gaining adequate knowledge, expertise, and integrity.

The Yayasan Karsa Cipta Asa (YKCA) Foundation was established to implement this program.

Program Pintu Depan’s 1st and 2nd Batch Launched

The initial scholarship program was launched in May 2023, targeting seven recipients from West Kalimantan Province. The second batch was launched in February 2024, also with seven recipients from West Kalimantan, West Java’s Bekasi, and Southeast Sulawesi, funded through a fundraising program disseminated to friends and Catholic community groups.

According to Mrs. Ping, speaking to Licas News, convincing donors was challenging, but she remains optimistic that the necessary funds will eventually be secured.

Lusiana Siau Ing, an elementary teacher, and Fransiskus Bramana, a business agriculture student, among others, have expressed their gratitude for the support received from the YKCA Foundation, which has significantly impacted their lives and studies.

“My life and study have been radically changed, since the Jesuit priest Fr. Mardisantosa SJ from Botong Parish Church in West Kalimantan’s Ketapang Diocese introduced my financial hardship to YKCA of which its Pintu Depan Program provided funds to pay my tuition fees,” said Ing, who regularly attends weekend on-site lectures in Tumbangtiti – spending
more than 6 hours trip by motorcycle through muddy-and-slippery offroad from Botong to Tumbangtiti.

Botong Parish Chief Priest Fr. Mardisantosa SJ who introduced his congregation to the YKCA scholarship funds (Photo supplied Fr. FX Baskarta T. Wardaya SJ)

“YKCA’s staff also endlessly encouraged and trained me to have writing skill – something that I have never expectedly happened to me due to no electrify in Botong. Whenever I am in other place with electricity, I can send my writings,” Ing explains.

Angelika M. Muras, studying tourism in Yogyakarta, and two Augustinian nuns in East Java’s Surabaya have also voiced their appreciation for the support that has allowed them to pursue their education and contribute to their communities.

The YKCA Foundation continues to expand its support, launching its second batch program in February 2024 and funding studies in various fields to assist individuals and institutions in remote areas, including the Franciscan St. Elisabeth Hospital in West Kalimantan.

“This year, St. Elisabeth’s Hospital marks its existence for 100 years in its health service to remote areas in West Kalimantan,” says Sr. Elisa, the KFS’s chief to Licas News.

“My true heartfelt gratitude to YKCA due to its contribution to finance my young sister to seek a degree in chemistry in Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta,” the chief nun says.

This initiative demonstrates the foundation’s commitment to improving education and health services in remote areas, with gratitude expressed by many for the opportunities provided.

Lusiana Siau Ing, an elementary teacher, regularly attends weekend on-site lectures in Tumbangtiti – spending
more than 6 hours trip by motorcycle through muddy-and-slippery offroad from Botong to Tumbangtiti. (Photo by Lusiana Siau Ing)

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