Jakarta. Asean Women's Circle Jakarta held its annual Circle Food Fair bazaar to raise money for charity at the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta on Tuesday (10/04).
Established in August 1975 by Nelly Adam Malik, the wife of then Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Adam Malik, AWC promotes solidarity and friendship through social and cultural activities in Asean countries.
The food festival brought out the best of traditional dishes from 1o Asean member states and those from the bloc’s partners, including Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, New Zealand and China.
The proceeds from this year’s bazaar are earmarked for donation to charities Indonesia Hijau, Pesantren Depok and a few other non-profit organizations in Cibubur and Padalarang.
The event raised more than Rp 140 million ($10,000) last year for Ekselensia Indonesia, a boarding school for underprivileged children, Yayasan Indonesia Hjau and other charities focused on improving women and children's welfare and emergency relief efforts.
Since its establishment, the organization has been transforming communities, improving lives, and empowering women in Asean countries through its charity programs.
Aside from promoting diversity and the rich culture of Asean countries, AWC also offers assistance to groups that help women and children – especially in education – in the regions, including enhancing women’s economic empowerment through entrepreneurship and business trainings.
The majority of women entrepreneurs in developing countries are still operating in small and micro enterprises with limited room for growth.
Though education for women is improving, women often still lack vocational and technical skills. Lack of work experiences also becomes a challenge for these women to run a business.
Other barriers include a lack of access to education or training, limited access to information and communication technology, and lack of capital.
In Indonesia, most women entrepreneurs run businesses in the informal and traditional female sectors.
AWC’s president Sari Percaya said, "Women are still facing tougher challenges to become an employee or an entrepreneur, especially women in remote areas. Many don't have access to information and communication technology, which is essential in the highly integrated global market."
Sari said the festival wants to help women and children in Indonesia to be self-sufficient.
"Setting up a business is a one of the strategies that women can use to empower themselves and break out of poverty," Sari said.
"We want them to have the skills and knowledge to run a business, provide them with education and giving them access to information and communication technology," she said.