2 - Gegerung Selatan & Gegerung Puncak villages

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The second village we visited in 2009 were the twin villages of Gegerung Selatan (South) and Gegerung Puncak (Summit) where we met with over 90 eager young children.

 

Our Gegerung Selatan welcoming committee 

Many of the children had just returned from school or paud and kept streaming in while we were there. Unlike Lingsar village, the local Paud Sandat is still highly dependent on assistance from Annisa for supplies and contributions for volunteer teachers. Due to the villages’ poverty, most parents are unable to pay the token Rp.3-5,000 monthly paud ‘fees’ (less than $1).

     

Handing out packages and salam-ing with young girls in Gegerung Puncak (left) and Gegerung Selatan (right) 

For those students who do manage to make it through their paud, or kindergarten years, many struggle to make it to primary school. To help increase the likelihood of this happening Annisa provide ‘school packages’ whenever possible, including uniforms, school bags and shoes, as well as a helping hand to enrol children at the local primary school on behalf of their often-illiterate parents. This help is invaluable for those who receive it, but unfortunately Annisa’s funds can only go so far and in 2009 there were still well over 100 young children in the Gegerung villages alone who didn’t attend primary school because their parents couldn’t afford the basics they need to walk through the door.

In 2010, Jeremy and Maria, friends of Lombok Kids who know Annisa and the Gegerung communities well, raised almost $3,000 for education in the Gegerung villages through their Going Loco for Lombok fundraiser.

 

Siapa yang sekolah?! Siapa mau jadi anak pintar?!

(Who goes to school?! Who wants to be clever?!) 

Our standard catch cry before looking through a school pack – guaranteed to get the kids warmed up and excited!

By far the biggest groups we met with in 2009, we ended up handing out 90 packs to Gegerung children on the day with another 50 delivered the following week by Annisa - by two determined women on the back of a motorbike, travelling up a very bumpy mountain path, packs in tow!

 

Listening in on instructions on health packs at Gegerung Puncak

 

Gegerung families

As in all the villages we visited, Gegerung’s poverty stems from the inability of families to find decent work. Most of the fathers of children we met in 2009 work to break up large stones – while the work is back-breaking, it earns them little more than Rp.1,000 (about 12cents) for every bucket they fill, or around Rp.3-4,000 (50c) a day. Add in working on weekends and in theory this could mean earning up to Rp.120,000 (around $15) a month.

When the season is successful, some are also able to find casual labour as farmers, earning up to Rp.25,000 (just over $3) for each day of work. But the work is sporadic and the lack of income often leads men and women alike to trek out to the jungle where they sleep for up to a week, collecting wood to sell on the black market to help make ends meet back at home – something Annisa is striving to reduce by providing alternatives.

    

Proud father in Gegerung Selatan showing off his sons new underwear (left) and (right) a very happy grandmother heads home at Gegerung Puncak with a free box from the morning’s packages

 

Annisa programs in Gegerung

With the help of Annisa, many mothers are now learning how to make seeds from the local coconut trees into handicrafts to sell at the market. Annisa also have a number of programs focusing on health – including increasing awareness of basic hygiene and familiarizing locals with the often terrifying prospect of bringing very ill relatives to the far off city hospital. Through Annisa functional literacy groups, mothers also learn how to read and write, gain skills to start small businesses, and importantly, learn to appreciate education, thus becoming even more determined to make sure their own children go to school.

 

Some of the Gegerung Selatan children who now attend paud or primary school, thanks to Annisa 

Due to the extreme poverty and isolation of the Gegerung villages, Annisa have also invested in other programs, such as working with UNICEF and LIPI (the Indonesian Research Institute) to install water pumps and solar-powered energy sources. As well as helping to build one of the villages’ only general stalls. On the day we visited the village stall was out of bottled water, which luckily for us meant a treat of some freshly picked coconuts (wonderful for us, though a far too regular alternative to clean water for the locals).

 

 

          

Enjoying coconuts in Gegerung Selatan

 

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