Community Circus = Smiles All-Round

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Can you juggle fire sticks while standing on your mate’s shoulders or make hundreds of people laugh without saying a word? The Red Nose kids can.

On Saturday November 9 and Sunday November 10, every Red Nose student, that is more than 200 children ranging from age seven to 18, performed in front of an audience of hundreds of people – their family and friends and friends of Red Nose, plus members of the media - at the 6th Annual Community Circus event in Bintaro Lama and Cilincing.

The production showcased the smiling faces and the circus skills of all the Red Nose students as well as the skills of a few guest groups, namely music students from Global Jaya and the A-team cheerleading squad.

Red Nose says thank you to all of our staff and the volunteers who helped make this event happen. A big thank you must also go out to TokoBagus.com, who sponsored the event and have shown a great deal of support for the foundation since.

If you weren’t able to make it to the see the show with your own two eyes, you can catch up on all the excitement via the video and photos listed below.

View our photo album on Flickr; Read about the 6th Annual Community Circus in the Jakarta Globe; And watch NET TV’s coverage (below).

Red Nose in Concert. Nov.4.

Thank you to everyone who attended Red Nose in Concert on November 4 at Eastern Promise in Kemang. We hope you enjoyed the Barry Likumahuwa Project as much as we did.

To see more photos from the event, click here.

The Rough Life

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Indonesia’s economic growth over the past few years has landed it on the business pages of international newspapers. But the country’s development and emerging wealth is yet to trickle down to the masses. Countrywide, millions of parents struggle to make ends meet, and their children are left with little opportunity for change. The contrast between Indonesia’s rich and poor is particularly obvious in Jakarta, where exorbitant wealth and devastating poverty coexist. 

Jakarta is built on a floodplain that covers 650 square kilometers of land, and more than 10 million people reside within its boundaries. Each day, however, this figure swells as countless others from the 18 million people living in the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Area (Jabodetabek) travel into the city for work.

Despite being the economic and political center of the country, Jakarta is riddled with problems: poor physical infrastructure; high informal employment and unemployment rates; low wages; inflation; air and water pollution; flooding; a lack of affordable housing; and inadequate public services and facilities, particularly where health and education are concerned. And those who are living on or near the poverty line (less than US$2 a day) feel the full weight of all of these issues every day.

Poverty leaves people vulnerable to too many factors that are out of their control; it’s understandable then how those living at the bottom of the socio-economic spectrum might feel lost amid the chaos of the city’s urban slums and worn down by the constant fight for a better quality of life.

Red Nose sees first hand what the consequences of poverty are for those living in Cilincing and Bintaro Lama where the foundation offers its Arts and Education Outreach Program.

Cilincing is a sub-district in North Jakarta with a population of about 371,000, more than 97,000 of whom are under the age of 14. It is here, in a kampung at the edge of the Java Sea characterized by its local fishing industry, that Red Nose first began its work with impoverished children in Jakarta six years ago.

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Pak Muksin and his wife, Ibu Nining, are a fair example of what life is like in Cilincing. Muksin owns a boat and he dives to harvest mussels that his wife then prepares to be carted off and sold. Together, the couple can generate around Rp. 100,000 a day to support themselves and their son Dedi, 15, a RNF student.

Because of poverty, Muksin left school after the second grade and Nining, who moved to Cilincing from Banten after getting married, was only able to complete elementary school. Both parents say they will do anything they can to help their children have a real chance of getting an adequate education because they believe it “is an integral factor of building a better future.”

Money, though, is far from being the only thing that stands in the way of a better life for children in Cilincing. There is a sinister side to Cilincing that Muksin and Nining, and many other parents like them, worry will influence their children.

“The neighborhood is full of negativity, drugs, and fights,” they say, and “we fear that our children will fall into a life of crime.”

Naturally, in a village that is so densely populated there is barely enough room for two people to walk side-by-side each other down the alleyways, many of the parents in Cilincing have formed a tight-knit community to help them cope with the challenges they face.

“We are like relatives and we all help each other out a lot because we share the same hardships.”

Ibu Darini is in her late forties and is a divorced single parent of two Red Nose kids – April, 17, and Tara, who is 6. Darini also worries about how the negative attitudes that permeate the neighborhood might impact her two daughters.

“The neighborhood is full of distrust,” Darini says. “There’s too much gossiping and bad mouthing going on and I am afraid that my daughters will be influenced in a negative way and they might throw away their bright futures.”

Darini earns between Rp. 200,000 and Rp. 400,000 per month washing clothes and occasionally cleaning mussels. With some financial assistance from April and Tara’s father, and with the support of the foundation, she believes that her daughters have a real chance at getting a good education and might even have the opportunity to go to college. Bintaro Lama, where Red Nose’s second center is located, is smaller than Cilincing and doesn’t benefit from having a localized industry that creates jobs and provides residents with a somewhat reliable source of income, albeit minimal.

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Ibu Juleha, or Leha, is a scavenger who earns money by picking up rubbish and salvaging objects to sell for cash. Leha works sporadically, though, because she has five young children to look after. In one month, Leha’s income ranges between Rp. 400,000 to Rp. 600,000: about Rp. 20,000 per day.

Leha moved to Jakarta 13 years ago chasing the dream of big money in the big city, but like so many others from rural Indonesia who’ve pursued the same dream, she couldn’t find a job and quickly ran out of money. Eventually Leha was offered a job by a “trash picker boss,” and that has been her primary source of income since.

Leha wants a better life for her children, two of whom – Lana, 12, and Tantri, 10 – are students at Red Nose, but money is scarce and it’s difficult to keep all of her children in school. She has her ups and downs, she says, watching her children stop and start school over and over again, but she clings to the hope that an education will be able to help her children pull themselves and their family out of poverty.

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Ibu Warniti and her husband are also scavengers and earn an average of Rp. 500,000 to Rp. 650,000 per month to help support their three children, including Heru, 9, another Red Nose student.

Unlike Leha, when Ibu Warniti moved to Jakarta around eight years ago she didn’t start out as a scavenger.

“I used to have a small food shop but then it went bankrupt because people just kept on not paying for the food they ate,” she says. After losing the business, with no education or qualifications, Leha and her husband were eventually forced to become scavengers.

“I don’t want me or my family to live this way,” she says.

This article originally appeared in Red Nose’s 2012 Annual Report.
Text: Jacqueline Wales
Photos:
Sukma and Kasma (Kids With Cameras, Cilincing); Lana and Niis (Kids With Cameras, Bintaro Lama)

RNF Map

Barry Likumahuwa at Eastern Promise. Monday, Nov. 4.

Join us for our last social gathering for the year. Come and say hello and meet some of the new staff who are helping the foundation grow.

We’ll be kicking things off at 8:00 PM at Eastern Promise with Whiskey Jack opening for Barry Likumahuwa Project. Rp100,000 will get you through the door, plus free beer and soft drinks.

Of course, all proceeds raised on the night will go toward helping Red Nose Foundation continue its work with more than 200 underprivileged children Jakarta.

You’ll have a great night, we promise. We’ve done this before: Check out photos from Red Nose in Concert events in 2012 and Red Nose in Concert events in 2013 on Flickr.

Poster - Barry Likumahuwa w. Sponsors

The 6th Annual Community Circus Is Almost Here

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The Annual Community Circus is the one time every year that all the Red Nose kids perform together on a single stage in front of an audience of hundreds – their family and friends, and others who swarm to see the show.

The 6th Annual Community Circus for 2013, featuring performances by more than 200 children ranging from age seven to 18, will he held in November and preparations are already underway. Dedi, Yanuar and Dan are working with each circus class and the Hidung Merah Performance Troupe, choreographing their routines, and have a spectacular time while they do so.

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Each class will showcase the skills the students have learnt as participants of the foundation’s flagship Arts and Education Outreach Program. There will be dancing, clowning, juggling and acrobatics, and if it’s anything even remotely like last year’s event it will be an absolute blast.

To view photos from
2012′s 5th Annual Community Circus,
as well as photos from behind the scenes,
visit Red Nose on Flickr.

This year’s show will also include performances by students of Global Jaya International School, the A-team cheerleading squad and Yayasan Sangar Anak Akar.
 
 

The 6th Annual Community Circus will be held in Cilincing, North Jakarta on November 10, 2013.

For more information about the event, please contact info@rednosefoundation.org. For media enquiries, please contact communications@rednosefoundation.org, and find out more about the Red Nose Foundation on our About page.

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HMPT Perform at Check Out for Children Fun Run

On October 20, the Hidung Merah Performance Troupe performed at the Le Meridien Hotel’s 5K Fun Run for Children. All proceeds raised during the event went to Check Out for Children, an alliance between UNICEF and Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, that raises funds to support children’s education.

Red Nose is pleased to have been apart of this corporate fundraising event in Jakarta. Congratulations to Starwood, and the Le Meridien in Jakarta, for contributing to such a good cause.

You can find photos from the fun run on the Le Meridien’s Flickr site.

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The 2nd Festival of Laughs Goes Off Without a Hitch

On September 14, 2013, 150 Red Nose supporters arrived at the Le Meridien Hotel and filled the grand ballroom for the second Hidung Merah Festival of Laughs and Charity Auction gala benefit.

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The music was excellent, the food was superb, the auction was a great success, the entertainment and the Hidung Merah Performance Troupe were captivating. Overall, the night was a great success and everyone who attended contributed to the Rp350 million (gross) that was raised on the night. This money allows the Red Nose Foundation to continue making a difference in the lives of underprivileged children in Jakarta. Thank you to everyone who attended as well as: the Le Meridien hotel, Arief, Bubu Giri, Septian Dwi Cahyo, ImprovIndo, Mosidik.

To see photos from the event by photographer Mahendra Ardi Darmawan, visit the Festival of Laughs photo gallery on Flickr.

The Tip of The Iceberg

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Nino Rianditya Putra joined the Red Nose Foundation in January 2012 as the foundation’s first Field Manager. Over 18 months, Nino created and developed the position to reflect the needs of children and foundation. Maintaining communication and order between the children, their parents, their schools, teachers and principals was a huge responsibility. Despite the stress and problems that inescapably come with overseeing the wellbeing of almost 200 kids, Nino found the job to be rewarding. Here, Nino reflects on his experience of being embedded in the lives of underprivileged children as Field Manager for the Red Nose Foundation.

The first words that I heard from the Red Nose Foundation’s Executive Director, Dan Roberts, after my first week of work and after handling my first student issue was, “this is only the tip of the iceberg.“ It took me a couple more weeks to fully grasp what those words meant, and during my very short one-year-and-six-months of work with Red Nose, I gradually dug deeper and deeper to find what was underneath that iceberg – the Indonesia’s feeble education system specifically, and a lack of awareness of the importance of education among parents and students.

As Field Manager at the Red Nose Foundation, I was given the huge responsibility of creating a network with children’s local schools, their parents, the local government, all while also helping to maintain the day-to-day operation of the foundation’s programs.

Before I joined Red Nose I was never fully immersed in the how, what, and why of the Indonesian education system. Dedi (RNF’s artistic director) showed me around during my first week of work, and even then I could see how the schools reacted when an NGO came to visit. Most of the schools I visited thought of NGO’s as trouble makers, as if they were looking for mistakes and on a mission to convert people’s religious beliefs (which has been known to happen), and I experienced that skepticism toward NGOs first hand.

One of the my most difficult tasks at Red Nose was building trust within the school community in Cilincing and Bintaro Lama. As Field Manager, I was responsible for collecting data from schools – grades, attendance, performance reports – regarding Red Nose students.(This data is then used by the education manager to create a specified program for those students that needed more attention than others.)

A simple task for schools? The schools were often reluctant to help out and made excuses to avoid having to assist us – they said it was too much extra work or that the school needed to be paid for the information etc. etc.. There were exceptions; some teachers were happy to cooperate and help Red Nose and support its cause, but I was definitely going to have to work on breaking down this barrier.

Today, I am proud to say that while a member of the Red Nose team, I was able to change that culture. We managed to translate our message in a way that showed our sincerity and ensured that the schools understood what the foundation does and aims to achieve. Now, many of the same schools that were skeptical show admiration for what the foundation aims to do.

One thing I should make clear: the Red Nose Foundation never, I repeat never, used any form of bribery to get ahead, and in Indonesia this is something extremely rare. Our mission was to help give children the education they have the right to receive, all of our work was based on that idealism. Through the scholarship program, the school renovation program, and just through the foundation’s willingness to socialize with education practitioners in the neighborhood as professionals or just as friends, the Red nose Foundation has succeeded in increasing awareness about the importance of education. We even managed to inspire a few education practitioners to become educators, not just teachers.

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Another challenge was working with the local government. Operating smack-bank in the middle of a community that is majority Moslem and having frequent visits by bules (foreigners) was also sometimes an issue, though not a large one. Religious community leaders often asked questions about what RNF is doing and what we’re teaching; we were sometimes also asked about our own personal religious beliefs. Occasionally people would also stop by RNF’s classroom to take a peek at our activities. We have always handled these situations as a team: We explain that RNF has no connection to any beliefs and that its only mission is to educate and build the characters of its students. Whether it be on a bench outside of the classroom, in a community leader’s house, a food shop, or during community meetings,  we repeated this sentiment over and over again, until it was clearly understood that the cause was pure and solely for the benefit of the children. Being friendly and open, and addressing people’s curiosity about the foundation has helped us gain the community’s trust. The fact that by mid-2013 we had at least 180 children actively participating in the foundation’s program is a testament to that.

 

Lastly, the most enjoyable part of my job, even though it was sometimes also the hardest part of my job, was connecting with parents and students. Most parents are uneducated, and many married and had children at a very young age. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario that has affected generation after generation and is now being passed on to today’s children – the Red Nose students. Cases of parents not caring about how their children are doing in school, never motivating them to study, or parents making their children help them with work or marrying the girls at a very young age are not uncommon. It is taxing, but also very rewarding when we start to see people’s perspectives changing as the foundation’s efforts to raise awareness about the importance of education takes effect. Parents now get angry when their children skip school, they are now taking an interest in their child’s education and helping them study and asking about things that their children need for school. The number of positive changes that have occurred because of the Red Nose Foundation are countless. As for the students? Well I’m happy to say that I’ve had the experience of enrolling kids into their favorite schools and watching their grades climb. Some have even made it into the top ranks of their class. It is a true feeling of satisfaction that comes from seeing these children succeed, and that will be hard to match outside of the Red Nose Foundation.

All in all, I have the upmost respect for the Red Nose Foundation, its staff and its mission to find a balance between the three key things that influence a child’s future – themselves, their parents, and their education. RNF is a small organization but the people who work there – staff, volunteers and interns alike – have the biggest hearts and care about education. I can proudly say that I have worked with one of the best teams out there. And that is what I discovered under the tip of the Iceberg; Success for Red Nose Foundation and it’s cause!

Nino also happens to be an amateur photographer: Here’s just a few photos Nino took while in the field earlier this year.

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Dow Makes a Donation to RNF

The Red Nose Foundation was the key beneficiary of the Dow Chemical Company’s annual charity golf tournament and charity auction in August. The Hidung Merah Performance Troupe put on a show for the crowd before Dow and its partners made a $10,000 donation to Red Nose to help support the kid’s education and the foundation’s arts and education program. Red Nose would like to thank Dow and its partners for this generous donation.
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