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Self-Help Project

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Batik greeting cardsThe Maranatha Self Help Project was started in 1986 by two expatriate women. The objective was to give work to very poor women of Jakarta to help them supporting their families and sending their children to school. They started by teaching several women living along the railway tracks in Senen, Central Jakarta, how to make greeting cards using batik material. The cards were then sold at various churches and women’s meetings and bazaars.

The project was managed by a series of expatriate volunteers until 1990 when Connie Titaheluw, an Indonesian lady who has experience in both business and social work, took over as manager. Connie continued to be assisted by a small group of expatriate volunteers. Maranatha was under the coaching of a well-established charity for one year before becoming a “Perusahaan Dagang” (Registered Cottage Industry). In 1990 the project moved from Senen to Tanjung Priok and the product line expanded to include sewn shopping bags, necklaces and hair scrunches. Also the export market was tapped with mostly cards being exported to the US, Canada, and Holland.

xThe economical difficult times in the late 90s reduced the number of expatriates living in Jakarta, who are Maranatha’s main customers. Consequently, the women got very little income from the project. To assist them Maranatha began offering small business loans to all the women who chose to submit loan proposals. Thirty women were given loans to start their own businesses such as selling food in the markets and establishing tailor shops with one enterprising woman buying a shrimp pond. In 2000 the project again moved – this time to Marunda Bekasi Utara, west of Tanjung Priok.

Today 24 women continue making Maranatha cards on a limited basis and 7 women produce the sewn items. There are seven families who, for various reasons - mainly illness, single parenthood or drug related problems – are not able to support themselves. Maranatha has sought sponsors to assist these families with their annual house rent.

xThrough donations Maranatha has been able to buy a small plot of land near the work center and to start building a four-plex housing unit to assist the neediest families.

Maranatha needs your help to:

  • To sell the Maranatha products (cards, shopping bags, picture frames, pillow covers, wall hangings…) at the monthly women’s meetings and special bazaars. This involves contacting the appropriate person in charge of vendors, booking a table and being present during the event.
  • To email with overseas buyers and donors.
  • To find new markets (local and international) – someone interested in marketing would be very helpful to us.
  • To find new sponsors to continue building the housing complex
  • To get a computer. If anyone has one lying around, we would gladly receive it.

If you are interested in helping in any of the various Maranatha projects or require further information about Maranatha, please contact:

Connie Titaheluw, Manager Maranatha Self-Help Project
P.O. Box 1014, Jakarta, Indonesia 14010
Tel. (62-21) 440-6483, HP: (62-21) 7077 1435
Email: [email protected]

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