Hopeless, frightened, butchered and bruised. It was 2006 and I was flying away from an abusive husband and eight years of bad marriage. With neither a family nor a safe place to turn to, I only had an address from a portable calendar in my home: The Women Crisis Center in South Jakarta.
A counselor assisted me through a confusing and painful process, from psychological counseling to the legal plea. She provided guidance to understand my situation, offered me a safe house as well as shelter if needed, and helped me to freely make the best decision. Most importantly, WCC tirelessly and thoroughly assisted me through the whole process.
Fast-forward to today as my eyes examine a stack of proposals on my office desk. Eleven WCCs from throughout Indonesia have answered a call for proposals for Pundi Perempuan’s (Pundi) 2014 first term of micro funding. I personally understand the importance of Pundi’s support for the ongoing work of WCCs; having to select just four out of 11 proposals is heart-wrenching.
This year is the first time I was involved in selecting the grantees. For Pundi, it is their 11th year of offering support since its 2003 initiation by the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) and Indonesia for Humanity (IKA). The Pundi program itself is a solidarity initiative aimed at mobilizing public resources — mainly funding, networking, and volunteering — to support WCCs in providing services for women and children victims of violence. In Indonesian, the word pundi actually means a jar or vessel for keeping valuables.
Many WCCs, like other public service institutions affected by the downside of global economic conditions in the 2000s, have been forced to discontinue their services or close down their support due to budget constraints. The consequence of these closings is that many women and children in need are abandoned and the graphic of untreated cases of violence against women has drastically increased. It is in this context, that Pundi tries to sustain the role of WCCs in reaching out to the victims.
Since being assigned to raise funds for Pundi six months ago, I have been overwhelmed with mixed feelings. I have gone through a decade of Pundi reports, and seen how it has developed a strong support system from its networks, both individual and corporate, to expanding awareness on gender based violence, to raising funds to consistently support at least six WCCs every year. To date, Pundi has successfully collected nearly Rp 1.4 billion ($121,800). Seventy-five percent of the funds have been distributed to 52 WCCs and three human-rights defenders in 20 provinces throughout Indonesia. The remaining 25 percent is allocated for endowments to generate revenue in building sustainable funding for the Pundi program. Although its progress is promising, its scope and capacity are still limited compared to the scale of what is needed.
According to Komnas Perempuan’s annual report, the number of cases of violence against women reached almost 280,000 in 2013— an increase of 64,000 since 2012. In order to meet the needs of victims, Pundi’s funding needs to increase at least six-fold.
I see the cases of violence against women described in every proposal as not merely empty numbers, but as a story of an unfortunate person who desperately needs help, just as I had. Each proposal contains detailed data and a proposed approach to address the victim based on specific needs and context. For example, the Libak foundation in Batam describes the alarming cases of women trafficked in the “golden triangle”— a free-trade zone among Batam, Singapore and Malaysia where many women and girls are lured and trapped in the prostitution business. The Women and Children Solidarity Organization (eLSPA) in Central Kalimantan entails the urgency of a program to respond to the high number of teen dating violence cases in the region. Another organization, the Women and Children Companion Organization (Sapa) in Magelang, Central Java, quoted in their proposal how Pundi has made a difference in their work to help victims.
“In 2013, Sapa worked together with Indonesia for Humanity (IKA) and successfully helped 38 victims of gender-based violence,” the organization said.
Just as WCC shone a light on my path to a second chance in life, WCCs throughout Indonesia can do the same for countless of other victims with the proper support. Pundi strives to ensure that light does not diminish. Your support gives the hope to every woman and girl in need that there will always be light at the end of the dark tunnel; so no one else will be hopeless, frightened and bruised.To Support Pundi Perempuan:Bank Niagaa/n Yayasan Sosial Indonesia untukKemanusianAccount number: 025-01-00098-00-3