Written by: Will Griffiths
The annual Haarlemmermeer Community-Based Tourism program continued this year when a group of students from Haarlemmermeer school in the Netherlands engaged in activities and experiences of cultural learning and exchange in Kampung Code, Yogyakarta. The students are the third Haarlemmermeer group to visit Code for this experience of cross-cultural learning, each year facilitated by Project Child Indonesia (PCI) to promote education, community self-empowerment, and cross-cultural learning and relationships. Code community members conducted workshops for the Haarlemmermeer students over the two days whilst the students also received a deeper insight into one of PCI’s primary initiatives; it’s Drinking Water Program (DWP). Students engaged in an information session regarding the context and importance of PCI’s DWP, and visited a school to see the Drinking Water infrastructure in action. The Community-Based Tourism program is an initiative that PCI believes in and one that results in a trifold benefit.
PCI is underpinned by the belief that everyone “can just do good.” However behind that idea is the experience and learning that promotes the empowerment of that idea. For the students of Haarlemmermeer, this Community-Based Tourism program represents such experience and learning. Under the heat of the Indonesian sun, Code community members conducted workshops for the students in Batik making, traditional dance, traditional cooking, and contemporary urban farming.
In a fun and engaging atmosphere of cross-cultural learning, the Haarlemmermeer students not only developed unique and useful skills, but by engaging in such a learning environment broadened their cultural outlook, and continued developing their sense of cultural relativity. Similarly, the school visit and participation in putting together one of PCI’s water filters, coupled with the DWP information session run by PCI, had an important effect. By witnessing the impact of the support Haarlemmermeer provides to PCI’s DWP, it converted the impact of their support to the DWP from an abstract idea, to a concrete reality. This in turn promotes the maintenance and development of the relationship between Haarlemmermeer and PCI, and involves the students in that relationship in a way only achieved through personal participation.
For Code, this Community-Based Tourism program represents and develops their self-empowerment and self-development into a community that facilitates their own sustainable tourism. Whilst PCI facilitated the workshops, it was the community of Code that developed and ran these workshops. Not only is this empowering for the community and its members, demonstrating to the students the beauty of art and dance, local flavours, and the ingenuity of urban farming techniques, but further promotes the relationship between the community and the school of Haarlemmermeer. The students of Haarlemmermeer and Code’s community members will forever have those experiences shared together, and the stories taken home by the students of Haarlemmermeer will be underpinned by themes of cultural learning and understanding, promoting to those around them the idea that the world exists beyond their immediate context.
For PCI, the benefit received through this program only exists through the benefit received by others. Without support, PCI is just an idea. This program, by providing to Haarlemmermeer students the context of PCI’s DWP and community engagement efforts, and demonstrating the necessity of that program, promotes the continued relationship between Haarlemmermeer and PCI and continued support of PCI’s programs. PCI is beyond grateful to the Haarlemmermeer community who, at event’s end, presented PCI with a donation of €4000, fundraised by the students themselves. A true testament to the relationship, and a big step in furthering student access to clean drinking water in Indonesia.
The two-day Community-Based Tourism program took place in a fun and energetic atmosphere, but had serious, practical motives and outcomes. The ultimate message to the students of Haarlemmermeer was that through the process of continued self-learning, you can be the change you want to see in the world, and that individual acts have global outcomes. The experiences engaged in, the relationships formed, and the learning received hoped to inspire the students of Haarlemmermeer, and upon their return to the Netherlands, it is hoped that they can inspire those around them. It is true, and PCI firmly believes, that if we open our eyes to the world, everyone can just do good.