What were your impressions of a visit to Indonesia

Help that arrives
Moving impressions in Indonesia's slums

15.02.2019 – 09:05

Global Micro Initiative e.V.

Dennis Franz, supporting member of the non-profit aid organization Global Micro Initiative e.V. from Hösbach, was in the slums of Indonesia to visit participants in aid projects in Bali and Lombok. Silvia Schüßler, board member of GMI, talked to him about his impressions and experiences after his return.

As a sponsoring member, you have been supporting GMI for a few years. How did you come to GMI?

I've been friends with Tobias Schüßler, the founder of GMI, since we were at school. I've known GMI for a long time. I was particularly fascinated by the "helping people to help themselves" approach. I think it's great that GMI doesn't just distribute donations, but rather helps people with microcredits and advice or with funded training, and I wanted to support that. That's why I became a sponsoring member.

You traveled to Indonesia at your own expense and visited areas there that are known for poverty and need. What made you do it, what was your motivation and what were your expectations?

For a long time I had wanted to get an idea of ​​the people and their living conditions that I had read about in the GMI reports so far. I also wanted to find out more about the work of the partner organizations on site. That's why I didn't think twice when I got the opportunity to fly to Indonesia with Tobias. Since the people GMI helps live in slums, I was prepared to see poverty rather than expensive tourist centers.

Together with the chairman of the board, Tobias Schüßler, you visited GMI-sponsored small businesses in Bali and Lombok. What was your impression of these people and their small businesses?

The people live in almost unimaginable conditions, sometimes right next to the above-ground sewer system, some in small, often windowless rooms. At the same time, the people's joie de vivre is amazing. On the one hand, they accept their situation and try to make the best of it. On the other hand, they have inexhaustible energy to build something for themselves with the help of microloans. It was moving to see how proud they showed us the progress they had made and their products, or explained to us the measures that enabled them to partially double their income.

Was there an experience that particularly moved / touched you during your visit?

On the island of Bali, I was particularly affected by the situation of Ekta and her children. By preparing fish balls and sticks and working for a delivery service, she has an average income of 6-12 EUR per day. Ekta lives with her three children in a small room of around 20 square meters. When we arrived, she naturally invited us to her home. Apart from the mattress lying on the floor as a sleeping place and living room at the same time, a television and jukeboxes were the most valuable possessions in the room, which was well-filled with four people. With both of her jobs, she would like to finance her children's education.

On the island of Lombok, the situation in the village of Sapit and the visit to Sopian were both moving and frightening for me. Sopian, who suffers from several physical handicaps, can now earn his living roasting and selling coffee through the work of Gema Alam and GMI. He also proudly showed us the process of roasting the coffee beans. I was deeply impressed that people like him can be given such a perspective through microloans and the consultations.

What is your conclusion of your trip to Indonesia?

The encounters and experiences with the people were worth every penny. It was precisely the relationship between our prosperity and our problems compared to those of these people that showed me how grateful I should be for my life situation.

Against this background, the motivation grew in me to support GMI even more in the future in order to enable the people on site to have a better life.

Thank you for the interview!