The eight Semester 41 DSIP students were sent to the district of Kulon Progo, in the Special District of Yogyakarta, along with other students from Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) to develop sustainable projects aimed at empowering the rural communities from various approaches.
Melissa McHugh (Murdoch University) and Jessica Butler (Murdoch University) were placed at the Tegowanu Village in Sentolo Sub-District, Kulon Progo. Mel and Jess worked together on several projects, one of which was raising awareness about waste management in the community through recycled crafts. They held sessions with the women of the Tegowanu Village every afternoon, turning plastic bottles into pencil cases and boxes into coasters, in hope these women would obtain economic capacity and foster an environment that encourages learning new skills whilst sharing their own ideas. Mel and Jess also worked on a blog titled Humans of Kaliagung, capturing the stories of the people residing in Tegowanu and surrounding villages. Aside from these projects, Mel also held sessions on sexual violence and violence in relationships at schools, and Mel organised a colouring competition that promoted health and sanitation to children.
Dominic Dwyer (Murdoch University) was placed at the Kleben Village in Sentolo, Kulon Progo. With the village in need for an agricultural and infrastructure boost, Dom was largely involved in the village’s kerja bakti – literally translates to ‘devoted work’ – where people of the village work together hand in hand with the concept of reciprocity or mutual aid. Through building roads with the villagers, he also built new friendship and new relationships with them. Gaining their trust, Dom was able to build his projects based on what the people of Kleben needed to develop and improve in the village. Apart from his participation at the kerja bakti, Dom also organised an English Club at the Senior High School every afternoon and designed multilingual posters (in Indonesian, Javanese, and English) around the village in hope to boost tourism.
Jordan Brown (Monash University) spent her eight-week Student Community Service at the Cumethuk Village in Pengasih, Kulon Progo. With corn and coconut being Cumethuk’s main natural resource and income, Jordi developed a project that promotes creative economy where she initiated the idea of coconut soap production for the women of Cumethuk. Jordi also shared her passion in arts through crochet with these women. Jordi also shared her background in business by organising Financial Literacy classes at schools, along with English classes.
Karis Erceg (Murdoch University) and Inani “Portia” Zikhali (Murdoch University) had the opportunity to live in the Tunjungan Village in the district of Pengasih, Kulon Progo. Both Karis and Portia had an interest in bringing out the hidden talents and promoting the culture of Tunjungan, as well as raising the awareness of waste management to build a cleaner environment. Karis’ projects included teaching the community how to turn food scraps into compost, crafts classes using recycled goods with the children, and batik classes and exhibitions. Portia’s projects included promotion of hand and dental hygiene, socialisation on waste management by trying to get the community accustomed to recycling, as well as gamelan and dancing classes at the schools.
Robert Franzone (La Trobe University) and Meseret “Messi” Mulugeta (Murdoch University) were welcomed at the Margosari Village in Pengasih, Kulon Progo. Rob and Messi worked together in restoring a kindergarten, making it a more inviting and conducive place for the children to learn. Rob and Messi also worked together in teaching English classes at the Margosari Primary School. For their individual projects, Rob also organised leadership and teamwork sessions for the youth of Margosari, and Messi held seminars on sustainable gardening.