JAVA VILLAGE NEWSLETTER SPRING 2016 Our fieldworker Titi Setiawati In this issue of our Newsletter the spotlight is on our fieldworker-cum-liaison o




Our fieldworker Titi Setiawati

In this issue of our Newsletter the spotlight is on our fieldworker-cum-liaison officer Titi Setiawati. Titi has been involved with Java Village long before it became a formal foundation. As a young anthropologist she did research in 1987 in a team with Mies Grijns on women tea pickers in the area. That triggered her interest in the community and made her come back regularly to the village, even though she was involved in research elsewhere in West Java. In the end she and Mies started a support group for the villagers, as we will see below.

For Java Village Titi has an indispensable role as an anthropologist, in suggesting what type of projects we need to consider to support the poorest section of the village community, helping with project design and monitoring all our projects. With her additional experience in bookkeeping she also manages all project finances, being strict on accounting and sending monthly reports to the Java Village treasurer. But most of all we appreciate her as a very helpful, caring and patient person.

Recently we received mails from visitors to the village, from our ambassador Jan Hendrik Peters and from the Green Paper Boys (see below). Both explicitly praised Titi for her kind care and professional support. “The cooperation was flawless”, said Paul Jonkhart from GPB.

Interview with Titi

When Mies Grijns visited West Java last January, she interviewed Titi on her work for Java Village. Titi protested, saying that she just liked to help, but for once we decided to ignore her modest objections and put her right in the so-earned spotlight!

How long have you been involved with Java Village? Eh, that is quite difficult to say, because my research work flowed naturally into aid work. The global crisis around 2000 triggered my involvement: I could no longer stand the suffering around me and I alerted Mies about this. With help from donors I managed to distribute items like rice, infant formula, medicines and building material to renovate houses, meeting people’s most basic needs. From about 2004 Mies and I started to look at more sustainable ways to support the villagers. In 2007 (the year the Java Village became an official foundation MG) our first project was the renovation of the elementary schools: in one school we built a library-cum-prayer room and in the other we helped renovate the teachers’ office, creating space for an extra classroom.

So, you have been working for much more than ten years already. Don’t you get bored? No, not yet (smiling), I am not continuously in the village, just visiting about twice a month. It is a welcome respite to my usual occupation as housewife and head of the neighbourhood (an administrative function MG). And I just like to be able to help.

What brought you to this particular village? I knew it already from fieldwork before. It is just easier to get access when you are already acquainted with the local people.

What did you learn from starting as a layperson becoming an expert in the field? Well, I don’t really feel I am an expert. My knowledge just came naturally. I learnt to appreciate my own life. Having seen so directly the living standard of the villagers, who have just one meal a day, I am grateful for my own life. In my view a project can only be successful if it connects with the needs of the people. The problem is that the people in the village don’t always see what their own needs are exactly. It’s also a matter of consciousness, to formulate the problem and to come to a solution together.

Has your work ever brought disappointment too? What makes the work difficult is the passive attitude of some villagers. They just wait for help; they hope you will solve their problems. It takes a lot of pushing and energy to activate them.

What are the highlights of these past years? I feel very inspired if I meet people, women who don’t give up, but manage to survive with patience and keep fighting for a better future.

What is your favourite project? My favourite project is Sponsor a Student. After the elementary school exams, I visit all candidates that are selected and proposed by their teachers – sometimes a student comes to us on its own initiative. It is hard to make a choice, but we cannot give grants to everyone. But it is great to see them prosper when they make it to secondary school. We have had some dropouts in the beginning, mostly because of hanging out with bad friends. And two girls had to give up because they were needed at home, one of them got married very young. The others are doing very well. I am so proud of students who manage to finish school. I do hope we can continue with this project for a long time and maybe in future manage to include senior high school in the programme.

Thank you very much, Titi, for all that you have been doing for Java Village! We hope we can continue our cooperation for many more years!

Green Paper Boys visit Cisarua

In the beginning of this year the Jakarta based ambassador of the company Green Paper Boys visited Cisarua. Mike Hendriks came loaded with notebooks, pencils, rulers, erasers and pencil sharpeners and made the pupils of the elementary school in Cisarua very happy. Green Paper Boys is a Dutch–based fashion brand. Part of the profits are reserved for initiating projects in Indonesia for underprivileged children. This is an important goal of the company. In the words of its founder Paul Jonckhart who has Indonesian roots: “We think it’s important to give back and we want to give back to the country where our parents and grandparents grew up and spent a large part of their lives.”

Jewellery Workshop on 18 May

On 18 May Java Village, together with the goldsmiths Borg and Daphne, will organise once again a jewellery workshop. It promises to be a wonderful evening at the historical venue of the goldsmiths Borg and Daphne at the Nieuwe Rijn in Leiden. The goldsmiths will demonstrate the casting of the silver Java Village charm which will adorn your own piece of jewellery. After a presentation on the origin and diversity of pearls, you will string your own bracelet. Fee: € 95 for the bracelet, including white and black pearls, silver charm, drinks and snacks. The workshop will take place at Nieuwe Rijn 3, Leiden from 19.30-22.30 hours.

Proceeds of the workshop (minus the costs) will go to Java Village. For registration and conditions of enrolment please send an email to

Gift Vouchers

A great idea for Mother’s Day, on the 8th of May! Use our gift voucher

If you would like to surprise someone with a present, Java Village has special gift vouchers available for the workshop. Please contact us ( and we will send you a voucher which you can use for your gift-giving.

Please do not forget us when you do your online shopping!

We would like to remind you of the possibility to make a donation to Java Village through the For details of how to shop and donate, please go to our website or just click here! Thank you!


Friend of Java Village

With a minimum of €5 a month or €60 a year you can become a ‘Friend of Java Village’. With your support we can guarantee and continue running projects and prepare new projects. Once a year, Java Village will organise a social event, especially for all Friends of Java Village, where you can meet other Friends and enjoy Indonesian snacks. The board will then report on the ongoing projects and the projects that are planned. .

In Memoriam Maria Peters - Christodoulou

With great sadness we received the message that our dear Friend Maria Peters passed away on February 3, 2016. Maria was one of our first Friends and a true supporter of Java Village. We wish her family all the courage and strength with this great loss. Maria made a special donation for the saving and microcredit project and it is an honour for us to spend her gift as best as we can on the sustainability of these women’s groups.

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