On my last trip to Japara in Central Java, Indonesia, I had the great privilege of visiting a local elementary school and meeting all the wonderful children and staff there. Months earlier, I asked my teak supplier, with whom I have done business for many years, what I can do to help the local community and more specifically the great people he had working at his facility. I had gotten to know many of his employees and their families over the years and have always appreciated their dedication and work ethic. I wanted to give back in some way. His immediate response was – education! He told me the best way the help the local community was to encourage education by supporting the local schools. Most children in the area do have access to public schools but the schools are not well funded. When I visited I was immediately greeted by all the children and staff with great warmth and hospitality. Although they did not have much in the way of supplies or services (no lights were on at the school), the children were very happy and appreciative of the opportunity. Coming from the U.S. it was very refreshing to see children excited about attending school! I also noticed that the majority of children were girls, an encouraging sign in this Muslim nation of 240 million people, the largest Muslim nation in the world. They understood that the best way to lift a population out of poverty was to educate its girls.
After we left, I asked my supplier to set up a bank account for the school and told him that I would be periodically wiring money for school supplies throughout the year. I committed to sending 1% of our net profits to this fund. This means that a portion of every purchase that a customer makes goes to support this school.
I look forward to visiting the school again in December and seeing first-hand the difference that the contributions of our customers is making.
Thank you for your support!
Mike & Julie