Lua Lemba Education and Community Development Foundation, Rote
Project established: 2000
Since 2000 indigo foundation has worked with the grassroots Lua Lemba Education and Community Development Foundation to increase opportunities for women and young people on the remote, arid island of Rote in Eastern Indonesia.
Lua Lemba is our oldest community partner. Our first initiative together was to advocate for a senior high school in West Rote Island. Now, many graduates from this school go on to university returning to Rote as administrators, teachers, primary health workers and business people. Many of these students were recipients of grants from the Lua Lemba bursary program.
While education remains at the core of Lua Lemba’s focus, with programs supporting early childhood education through to university level, indigo foundation has also supported Lua Lemba to develop programs in women’s empowerment, health, food security and cultural strengthening, through an annual cultural festival.
Over 17 successful years we have contributed to the establishment of two senior high schools, provided education bursaries for children from kindergarten through to senior high school, trained and funded early childhood educators.
Food security has long been a concern for the people living on this arid island. During the annual musim lapar or ‘hungry season’ high seas isolate Rote and food supplies run short. Women often go without food to feed their families and keep their children in school and they walk long distances every day to collect water.
indigo foundation and Lua Lemba have supported the establishment of pig banks in the island’s villages, as well as the establishment of cooperative food gardens, the first of which was a market garden in the village of M’bore. Run as a collective these gardens are now sustainable and have had wide reaching impact. The produce provides both nutrition and a cash crop for farmers – mostly women – and their families.
In 2014 the M’bore Farmers Group exported 30 tonnes of onions. Income from the garden has been used to build toilets and establish a community bank, which distributes profits to families on a two-year rotation. Women who had spent hours every day drawing water from distant wells now have confidence, funds and time for small business enterprise initiatives and to support their children to stay in school and study.
Our health programs with Lua Lemba have included mother and child health workshops, the development of a healthy schools program and a highly successful festival which focussed on reproductive and sexual health issues.
In 2010, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of indigo foundation’s collaborations in Rote, Lua Lemba founded an annual Arts and Culture festival. Now in its seventh year, it is both a hugely popular event and an important vehicle to value and teach Rotinese culture.