As part of ACICIS’ 20th anniversary, to help mark the occasion, ACICIS has launched three projects, a podcast on Indonesian current affairs, a census of ACICIS alumni and a fundraising drive for The Lestari Widyastuti Scholarship.

These three projects were selected to mark ACICIS’ contribution to the Australia-Indonesia relationship over the previous twenty years, to help to bring alumni together, and to help give something back to Indonesia.

ACICIS is seeking donations from alumni to assist with the development of these projects.

ACICIS Study Indonesia Podcast

There is presently no existing regular audio broadcast or podcast program on the Internet providing high-quality commentary on Indonesian current affairs. With the barriers to entry for broadcasting over the Internet now very low, ACICIS – with its twenty years of engagement with Indonesia and large alumni base (approximately 2000 individuals) – is well-placed to fill this gap and to provide such content and commentary. Working with Inside Indonesia and other stakeholders, ACICIS will produce a podcast on Indonesian current affairs, following a similar model to the highly successful Sinica Podcast, which provides weekly English-language commentary on current affairs in China.

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Expansion of the Lestari Widyastuti Scholarship Program

The Lestari Widyastuti Scholarship Program was inaugurated in 2009 to commemorate the life and service of Lestari Widyastuti, The Australian Consortium for ‘In-country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) Yogyakarta Program Administrator from 1997-2007. Lestari passed away suddenly in October 2007 at the age of 37. The scholarship program – funded from an endowment comprising largely of donations from ACICIS alumni – honours Lestari’s commitment, hard work and passion for building people-to-people relations between young Australian and Indonesian students. Under the program, scholarships are awarded each year to Indonesian undergraduate students from low socioeconomic background, who have demonstrated high academic achievement in their first year at Gadjah Mada, and whose degree has some relevance to Indonesia-Australia relations. ACICIS is seeking funding to expand the scope of the program and offer assistance to a greater number of Indonesia students at Gadjah Mada annually.

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Previous ACICIS Contributions

The Lestari Widyastuti Scholarship
Late in 2007, after the untimely death of our good friend Lestari Widyastuti there was some talk of setting up a scholarship in her name. ACICIS has been working on this idea and we have now inaugurated The Lestari Widyastuti Scholarship.

We have raised sufficient money to endow the scholarship with enough funds so that the interest each year is enough to pay the tuition fees of an Indonesian student studying at UGM. Using only the interest and not the principal will ensure that the scholarship continues in perpetuity.

Padang Earthquake Appeal
ACICIS students cooked food for a stall at the UGM International Day and raised Rp 1,168,000 for the Red Cross Padang Earthqyuake Appeal.

Yogya Earthquake Appeal
While all ACICIS students were safe and well after the 2006 Yogya earthquake, they immediately mobilised to help the community they lived in overcome the tragedy. In between taking exams, our students drew on their language skills and experience to help the 600,000 odd people displaced by the disaster.

Library Donation to Universitas Gadjah Mada
In 2005 ACICIS was kindly given a large collection of books on Indonesia by an Australian donor who wishes to remain anonymous, including a complete set of Inside Indonesia. These books were donated to Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta.

Tsunami Relief Funds
In early January 2005 former ACICIS student Deanne Whitfield collected A$3,700 over a single weekend from the customers of the Bunnings hardware store in Mandurah, Western Australia. This extremely generous donation from ordinary Australians was for the victims of the tsunami in Aceh. Deanne passed the money on to charity organisations in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, who bought medicines and baby food, which was then packaged and sent to Aceh by truck.

The main recipient organisation was:
Humanitarian Committee for Aceh
Office: Posko Bale Gadeng, Jl Kartini No. 1A Sagan, Yogyakarta
Phone: (0274) 580920
Contact: Teuku Nasruddin Syah, or Syarifah Maharani (0818 468 828)

In 2002 and again in 2003 ACICIS students at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta organised a fund-raising event called a Becakathon. For a day, students pedalled people around in becaks (trishaws), in return for a donation. It was a huge success, with a total of $1,864.35 raised for poor children in the Yogyakarta area.

Health and Wealth from Waste, 2004
The goal of this project was to create a healthier environment in the city of Yogyakarta, starting with a focus on one small rapidly urbanising community on the city’s periphery. The project was started under the auspice of ACICIS but in 2005 was moved to Monash Asia Institute at Monash University.

The project involved creating increased awareness and action among community members about waste disposal, waste recycling, composting, vegetable, herbal and fruit gardens on vacant land and in pots (for those who have no land) and cottage industry – income earning activities for the poorest from plastic, rubber and paper. Both rich and poor would benefit from this program – the rich being able to get rid of their rubbish without burning it (causing air pollution) or throwing it into irrigation canals (causing frustration for farmers) and on street sides (causing smell, health hazard and ugliness). The poor would be able to earn an income from the waste of the rich (plants and products from waste).

The project leader was an Indonesian environmental health expert and community field worker. He knows as much as you would ever want to know about the life of mosquitoes – where they breed, when they bite and how to stop it. His work on malaria, dengue fever and elephantisis has led him to waste management because that is where many of the problems begin.

The Sukunan Village Recycling Project has now adopted the following motto: “Sampahpun bisa berbalas budi kepada manusia, tidak sepantasnya kita menyia-nyiakannya walau wujudnya sampah, ia tetap sahabat kita.”