So as I was explaining in an earlier post, Amal and I now go regularly to a library that's situated close to our home. I had heard of this library a while ago, but never really found the time to go until a few weeks ago when we went with a few friends of Amal's. That's when I realized just how great their collection was and I thought this would be a good weekend activity with Amal. And I think the stars aligned cause on that day, Amal borrowed his first book and devoured it in one day only (it was a 200-page book!).

Arts and crafts area
Children's books area
Adult books area
I highly recommend this library if you live in Jakarta Selatan. It's called RIMBA BACA and is situated on Jl. RSPP (Jl. Intan) no. 21B, Cilandak. It's behind Rumah Sakit Fatmawati, and you enter through a small street right across from Citos.
They have a facebook page with lots of photos so check it out: Rimba Baca.

The way it works is that you pay a one-time annual fee of I think Rp. 350,000 and you're entitled to borrow 5 books per week. I honestly think you really get your money's worth with the extensive collection of books they have, instead of having to buy all these books you might want to read :)



Recently, Amal and I restored 2 painting that he had made when he was about 4 or 5 years old. They were made with color markers so eventually the colors faded, especially because the canvas wasn't varnished. So they were on the walls in Amal's room but sadly almost non-existent....
It took us a few days to re-color the whole thing and I bought a spray varnish which I hope will be enough to keep the colors looking good. I can't imagine losing these superb paintings that Amal made...



Suddenly the month of February is  upon us. So I wanted to share with you another great giving back idea. 
If you are reading this, you are most probably someone who has a decent, comfortable life, and that is because either you work, or your husband works or your parents work. Work, and the money that you receive from that work, is what keeps us all able to lead a comfortable life, put our children to school, feed our family and pay for medical expenses.
Unfortunately it's not always that easy. In Indonesia, 60% of youths aged 16 to 24 are unemployed, and this is greatly due to a lack of skills. Youths are competing against each other on the job market, and if you are not able to present a university degree or a skill of some sort, it is very difficult to obtain a job. In areas such as Cipanas where we find families struggling to get by, finishing High School or even Junior High School, is already a struggle. But how can they change their fate if they don't have anything to offer to the job market? That's where a Vocational Training Center is needed; a place where youths can obtain skills such as computer, English, sewing, hospitality skills that will give them an upper hand when looking for a job.

2 students role-playing during English class

Computer class, often taught by peers

A sewing class, where students learn to sew using recycled materials

Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM) opened a Vocational Training Center (VTC) in Cipanas around 3 years ago, and since then most of the graduates who have also graduated from High School, have found a job. Unfortunately, a VTC like this is not sustainable. It's almost impossible for YUM to ask a fee to those coming in for classes, since they come from very disadvantaged families. That's why constant support and funding is necessary. It's an amazing project and I can see just how great they're doing and how motivated they are. Go here to read their stories and see what the Sewing class have been creating.

If this is the sort of project you would like to help, this is another project where YUM is working together with GlobalGiving so you can donate via their website: Provide Skills For Indonesian Unemployed Youths (or you can go directly by clicking on the widget on my right sidebar)