Yayasan Kasih Bangsa Surabaya (YKBS),
In April 2019 a visitor of my province told me about this organization named Life Project 4 Youth which works in partnership with Atmabrata Foundation in Jakarta. I tried to get contact with Roch Alaguillaume, who was at this time the LP4Y’s Country Coordinator of Indonesia . Surprisingly he directly welcomed me to see their actions with the Youth in their center. So I paid a visit with two of my staff.
It seems I “fell in love at first sight”. Honestly, I was shocked by the location of the site which is very poor and so polluted. Yet the volunteers stay among the most underprivileged people. Witnessing the courage of volunteers to live that way, I concluded that they expressed the catholic value “preferential option for the poor.” No wonder if I instantly said, “Yes, I will collaborate with you. Please come to visit us in Surabaya.”
For me Surabaya is an interesting place. In fact, Surabaya is the destination place for the East Region of Indonesia to work, to do business, and to get higher education. At the same time, even though Surabaya doesn’t face extreme poverty such as Jakarta, it is covered by neighboring cities and islands which are so poor in resources and educational opportunities. For this reason I think Surabaya is the second best place after Jakarta to erect such Training centers, as the ones of LP4Y.
Likely, the communication was done so quickly. After Roch Alaguillaume, Fanette Billot, Rizka Maulida and John Delaporte visited Surabaya, we were sure that LP4Y would open the center in Surabaya in collaboration with Yayasan Kasih Bangsa Surabaya (YKBS). We made a choice for the site : a kampong (village) of poor fisherman. I am so glad to see the progress of communication with the local people, with Muslim clerics, and with youth organizations. I am so impressed also about the instant decision to send three first volunteers: Rizka Maulida, Amaury Belarbi and Khawla Boutalouss, who are so hardworking, cheerful and approachable.
Considering those situations, I am very confident about the future of this center and collaboration. However, the uniqueness of the character of people in this region, in particular Surabaya, required us to do research and studies on the culture and type of poverty faced by these people. It means, we need time and hard work to make direct contacts with people and do the mapping, as much about the problems as the different opportunities there.
Because of personal exceptional circumstances, the catalysts in place had to leave for a few weeks. Thus the center in Surabaya is still waiting for opening, nevertheless they will be back as soon as possible, probably by October, to inaugurate the new Life Project Center before the end of 2020.