Strong Communities in Times of Disaster

In the face of the hurricanes, tropical cyclones and earthquakes and now wildfires that have devastated so many communities in the past two months it is easy to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by human suffering. But, there is not only darkness; we find hope as we witness an upwelling of the latent nobility of the human spirit.

Seasonal fires occur in Kalimantan each year, peaking in the dry season of late summer and early fall. Slash-and-burn deforestation to clear land for farming or other agriculture still takes place, and fires escape from already cleared land into adjacent forest. The swampy forests of the low-lying parts of these islands sit on thick layers of peat (un-decayed vegetation), which is extremely flammable when it dries out. The peat is exceptionally smoky when it burns.

Seasonal forest fires occur in Kalimantan each year, peaking in the dry season of late summer and early fall. Slash-and-burn deforestation to clear land for farming or other agriculture still takes place, and fires escape from already cleared land into adjacent forest. The swampy forests of the low-lying parts of these islands sit on thick layers of peat (un-decayed vegetation), which is extremely flammable when it dries out. The peat is exceptionally smoky when it burns.

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Board Meeting in Sacramento—February 2017 18–19

The entire board of SD USA met together in Elk Grove, California to review national and international Susila Dharma projects—their 2016 activities and their 2017 grant requests. Each member of the board serves as a liaison with specific projects and is able to provide detailed information. It was deeply moving to learn about what has been accomplished and the benefits these projects have had for children, families, communities and ecosystems. Starting with the spark of the latihan in an individual member, the founders of these projects have persevered to create projects serving humanity. Today we can see some amazing results. For the most part, the Susila Dharma projects are growing in competence and the number of people positively affected. Many are addressing sustainability—less dependence on outside funding. However, the support of national Susila Dharma organizations is still a vital piece contributing to project operations. Due to SD USA grant writing, multi-year support has been secured for the Anisha project (India) from the Guru Krupa Foundation. We hope to build on this model.

It is entirely thanks to you, our Subud USA members, that we are able to disburse funds to projects. You do this with your generous donations as well as with your contributions and bequests to the SD USA Endowment Fund (a percentage of the Fund earnings are applied to grants). And you contribute to the projects with your prayers, your interest and your support of the SD USA Board. Rest assured that your “earmarked” donations are tracked and applied to the projects you indicated.

We are looking for new directors for the Board, so please consider joining us!

A list of the 2017 project grants, and a brief description of their 2017 activities, appears below. We will work to develop more extensive articles and updates on the projects over the year and these will be sent out via email, posted on our website and on our Facebook page.

We have a new Chairperson. With strong and positive receiving, Aminah Herrman is our new chairperson and Miriam Moyer is our new vice chairperson. Fortunately, Miriam and Aminah both live near Sacramento, which allows for good communication and support. Evan Padilla, our dedicated chairperson for two terms, is stepping down; but he will provide mentoring through June of 2017. Susila Dharma USA’s policy is to select the chair from current board members, however, as a membership association—with all of you in Subud USA being our members—this chairmanship will be finalized by election at the SD Annual General Meeting, to be held at the upcoming July Gathering in Maryland. We are hoping to add new directors for the board, so, please consider joining us!

SD-USA Board, 2/18/2017

Susila Dharma USA board—from right, counter clockwise: John Schoenthaler, treasurer; Sulfiati Magnuson, director; (standing) Sofia Nicoletti, national helper liaison—Benedict Herrman, the other national helper liaison is not pictured; Aminah Herrman, new chairperson; Ramon Cuencas, director; Miriam Moyer, new vice chairperson; Evan Padilla, outgoing chairperson; Jake Sterling, director (and webmaster); Rifka Several, SD office manager

Breaking News: Susila Dharma Canada Wins National Project Competition!

“Grand Challenges” is an initiative from the Canadian government to find innovative ways to address health issues. Susila Dharma International Association (SDIA), working through SD Canada, submitted a proposal titled, Saving Brains, focusing on alleviating risks in children from birth to age three that result in delayed development.

Out of all the proposals submitted—Saving Brains was one that was selected! This project will initially run for 24 months, and include intervention and non-intervention communities (150 children in each group).Three well-established SD projects will collaborate: International Child Development Program ICDP), Association Vivir, and A Child’s Garden of Peace. The project will be located in Peru, where ICDP already has a training program at the Lima University.

Funding in addition to the Canadian government grant is needed so SD USA is granting $5,000. Money is also coming from SD Canada, SD Britain and the Buchan Family Foundation. Important to Susila Dharma’s visibility in the world, this will be a case of our Subud organization working with a national government as the lead in an innovative project.

SD USA Grants for 2017

Innovative Youth Programs

Borneo Football International Foundation (Kalimantan)

This non-profit organization serves underprivileged children through football (soccer), nutrition and educational programs. The goal is to provide a safe play environment, help with English language skills and other schoolwork, as well as life-skills and character development to achieve success. The SD USA grant of $3,000 supports The Basic Health and Nutrition Project, which also includes anti-smoking, drug and alcohol education for 150 children.

Human Force Camp (2017 site—Kalimantan)

Rosanne Favre and Solen Lees direct this camp that provides a volunteer work force for Susila Dharma projects. The Camp includes Subud members aged 18–30, though volunteers of any age (from 16 up) as well as friends of Subud members are welcome. The purpose of the camps is to experience what it is to contribute to the social and humanitarian change accomplished by the Susila Dharma program hosting them. Campers are then challenged to feel their role as global citizens and agents of change in their own communities. Last year’s very successful Camp worked at Yayasan Permakultur Kalimantan (YPK) and the SD USA grant of $2,600 will support a return to there 2017.

Anisha (India)

This year’s SD USA grant of $5,000 continues to support a high school for 50 children who want to continue past year seven, the last year of publicly funded public education in India. Students from the poor, rural community surrounding Anisha receive encouragement to continue to University. The support offered through this program is estimated to have a wider impact on as many as 500 people within the communities where these students live.

Wide-Reaching, Creative Responses To The Needs Of Children

A Child’s Garden of Peace (Puebla, Mexico site: Casa Cuna School)

The Children’s Garden at Casa Cuna was established before the last Subud World Congress. This SD USA grant of $1,400 will allow the project founder and director, Illène Pevec, to go back to Puebla to garner the necessary community support to continue the garden as an educational and nutritional component of the school.

Badger Arts and Environmental Camp (formerly Camp Badger) Badger, CA

“Camp Badger” serves children from the Sierra foothills and the Central California Valley, where the majority of families live below the poverty level. Many have never been to a forest, hiked, or even been swimming. Campers gain exposure to the arts and to environmental experiences that enrich their understanding of themselves and their place in the world. Some campers are now of an age to become counselors! The SD USA grant of $5,000 supports scholarships for inclusive attendance.

Cipanas YUM Village (CYV, formerly Children’s Village), Indonesia

Cipana Village addresses poverty and lack of education in West Java, reaching out to 25 villages in one of the poorest areas in Indonesia. It has been in operation for over 40 years. Of the 67 schools in the area, none provide books or Internet access. The Village includes an early childhood learning center, community library, vocational training center, and tutoring classes. The SD USA grant of $3,000 will partially finance children’s special activities as well as Village operating costs such as electricity, phone, internet, transportation, insurance and office expenses.

Mother-Child Hospital at Kwilu Ngongo, Democratic Republic of Congo

Working in conjunction with Susila Dharma International Association, SD Germany, the German government and the Buchan Family Foundation, health clinics are being established with a business model that builds economic sustainability for the projects. The Mother and Child Hospital at Kwilu Ngongo addresses the high mortality rate of both mothers and children during pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy. In DRCongo, corruption is high, poverty is high, so it is very difficult to establish a project that doesn’t collapse almost at inception. The model that is being established by SD DRCongo works because it is based on a “community co-management” system, with a local governing board, half of whose members are from the local community. Healthcare costs are covered through a “Health Mutual Association”—members pay a modest fee which creates a health insurance for them and ongoing support for the clinics. This SD USA grant of $4,000 supports travel and other costs to send experts to help set up the systems needed so that these projects will be sustainable into the foreseeable future.

International Child Development Program (2017 site), Peru

ICDP provides caregiver training around the world. The SD USA grant of $2,000 sponsors two trainers to work with 20 families for a year to improve and enrich the relationship between parents or other caregivers and their children. Special efforts are being made to include fathers, as well as mothers. This program has the support of the local government and church.

Inner City Schools (Los Angeles, CA)

Hamidatun Karapetian recognized the need for enrichment funding for schools receiving little government money for art and field trips in areas where parents are unable to make donations. The project operates in an elementary school and two early childhood centers. The SD USA grant of $3,000 provides educational toys, books, clothing and shoes for children, as well as dried rice and beans for their families.

Smile Partners (Washington, USA)

This project provides preventive oral health services to low-income children and seniors in the Puget Sound area of Washington. There is also an educational component in classrooms, and with printed materials. This year’s funding from SD USA of $1,000 supports the dental hygiene program in the local schools (12,000 patients in 140 local preschools and elementary schools in five counties are served by Smile Partners).

Maintaining Community For The Elderly And The Chronically Ill

QUEST Center for Integrative Health (Portland, OR)

Lusijah Marx, founder of QUEST, has expanded the program to Rwanda, Africa. The Portland location, in operation for over 27 years, provides a multi-disciplinary approach to health care and wellness to the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV/AIDS and other life challenging issues. This SD USA grant of $3,000 supports staffing the Community Nutrition Night (with food provided by Whole Foods).

Elderberry (United States)

Mardiyah Tarantino founded this project to assist Subud elders (ages 75+) to remain included in the Subud community. She has an assistant—Marguerite Charney. Rosetta Narvaez is the treasurer. The SD USA grant of $1,500 reimburses the costs of travel to latihan locations, provides subsidies to attend Subud events, and supports a birthday card program. Each Subud USA region has an Elderberry representative.

Focus On Strengthening Families

Tijuana Family Outreach (Subud CA at San Diego project, Tijuana, Mexico)

For years, Subud California at San Diego has brought school supplies, holiday celebrations, and enterprise training (such as baking classes) to Tijuana. The project serves around 70 families with children. The $1,000 grant from SD USA will support the continuation of these activities through 2017.

Usaha Mulia Abadi, A.C. (Mexico)

Nutritional supplements are provided to 1,000 children, from birth to the age of eight in economically marginalized economic areas. This grant of $3,000 provides for the logistics of receiving and distributing the supplements. UMA also monitors the weight and height of the children, working with families to assure their continued healthy development.

Yayasan Bina Cita Utama (BCU, Kalimantan, Indonesia)

This school and community center utilized last year’s grant to develop a kitchen garden. The grant this year for $4,500 is to install solar power to their buildings. This will provide operational savings and assure power without outages and dependence on gas generators.

Honoring The Earth

Yayasan Permakultur Kalimantan (YPK, Kalimantan, Indonesia)

The delicate ecosystem of Borneo/Kalimantan is being destroyed by deforestation, peat fires, water draining and agricultural expansion. The island suffers from unsustainable land management and agricultural practices. This makes permaculture education vital in this land. The grant of $4,000 will support the continuation of YPKs sustainable land management approach through providing a vehicle and part-time office assistance.

Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YTS, Kalimantan, Indonesia)

In its ongoing work with seven village communities in Bukit Batu, Kalimantan, where people who have had their traditional way of life and livelihood destroyed by the mining and massive deforestation of the rainforest, YTS is training villagers in the art of fish farming, with an emphasis on creating hatcheries. Concluding their 5-year development and training phase, this year’s grant of $5,000 will help villagers turn the fish farms into economically sustainable enterprises