Category Archives: Japan-Beppu-APU

Hoshizora

 So you live in Beppu and have got yourself a part-time job?Well, why not be an angel and use just a bit amount of your 1- 1 1/2 hour working wage each month to have a poor kid sent to school. 

Hoshizora is a social community pioneered by the initiatives some Indonesian APU students who really wanted to make a change for the poor street-children of Yogyakarta, Indonesia so that they can go to school and strive for their dream as high as the stars in the sky!

The basic idea is that each month we contribute 1000 yen to support our sponsored child so that the kid can go to school.It’s only 1000 yen?! and it does make very much difference there in Indonesia, since 1000 yen is quite a sum of money in Indonesian rupiah. To give you an image, even my school fee when i was in Indonesian high school only cost 600 yen/month, and that is the rate for the top best public high school i attended in my province. Then, for only about 50 yen, you can get yourself what we call ‘nasi ramas’, a complete set of packed meal of rice with the beans, fish, toufu, vegetables to fill your stomach.

So you can imagine how much more valuable 1000 yen is for poor kids.But our help does not end there, it was not just about giving-receiving money, but also, Hoshizora aims to foster the intimacy between us(the ‘kakak bintang’) and the child that we sponsor (the ‘adik bintang’).

Before i proceed further, i think it would be good if i get you more familiar with some Indonesian vocabularies i mentioned, since it is also interesting. ‘Hoshi’ means star, and ‘Zora’ means sky. Therefore, HoshiZora literally means ‘the starry sky’. “Wish upon a star, dare to dream and make it happen!” Very cool slogan for the kids rite? Then, ‘kakak bintang’ and ‘adik bintang’, ‘kakak’ of Indonesian language means older brother/sister while ‘adik’ means younger brother/sister, and maybe you can guess that ‘bintang’ means stars in English.

Every 1-2 months, the Hoshizora community would hold up forum in which the ‘kakak bintang’ can write letters to their ‘adik bintang’, getting updated with the latest news, making video letters, discussing stuffs, and many many more. It’s fun and worthy, really! 

So here are the various programs you can help the children through.

Graduate/Undergraduate Thesis – APU

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Do you know that you can read Thesis done by APU students who by the time have become alumni?

It is interesting, and useful as students can add more knowledge and understanding for themselves for each respective field of the thesis and at the same time learning how to write good outstanding thesis paper and its format.

So here is the way to view the Thesis done by previous students of APU:

1. Graduate Thesis: Media Resource Center —> About the Library(List of Graduate School Thesis) —>  [Select the year]

When you click any year, only very few can be viewed or downloaded the thesis from the computer, the Library staffs are still working on uploading them, that was the answer i got when i asked the librarians. So basically you can get only the list of available graduate students’ thesis.

Wait, wait, dont be dissapointed yet. I havent told you yet that in the Library, at the Reference Counter, they have archived the original copy of the thesis by each graduate student! So what you need to do is just get yourself to Reference Counter, and request any thesis title from the librarian. Yay!

2. Undergraduate Thesis : APUAcademic —> SeminarSubjects(4th year) —> List of Undergraduate thesis Titles 

(In case you are not APU student, you cant view/download the file link without APU ID, so please download from here)

In case for undergraduate thesis, only ‘Outstanding marked’ thesis are available to view/download. In case of some ‘Outstanding marked’ thesis that has no link, that is because the person didn’t want the thesis to be published to the public (confirmed by asking directly at Academic Office).

Differing from Graduate Student Thesis, the Undergraduate Thesis are not archived in the library, so the hardcopy of the thesis is nowhere to be found in the library, unless you contact the person directly.

So does that not motivate you to write your own thesis or to practice writing better and better thesis? Since the thesis have the chance to be view by public that means you have the opportunity to shape the world through the lens of your thesis readers.

Printing Paper Double Sides – APU

Finally! I managed to print out on my materials on both sides of each paper sheet!

It is possible to do so from every public Printing Machine at APU, and it is important to do so!

Even though it would cost the same price nevertheless, but it saves up a lot of otherwise wasted paper! Research showed up that paper consumptions are the highest in offices areas, and that if piled up, it would be a mountain! Even though one person might just waste 3-5 sheets of paper, make it more realistic figure by doing the multiplication and it would turn out to be massive quantity.

So here is the way to print on both pages:

  1. Open the document you want to print
  2. Go to –> File then select Print
  3. Under the print screen you select Printer Properties
  4. On the left side of the printer properties, click on the second icon “Duplex Option”
  5. Select the long edge or short edge according to your need (not simplex)
  6. On the screen you will see the preview of the document have a side that have rimmed, that’s mean is OK.
  7. Click OK, then you can print out your document.
  8. Then Feel great about yourself and tell yourself “I did something to save the world”

Please be kind enough also to spread this information to your friends or whenever you see somebody you know is printing at the public printing machine, please remind them that duplex printing is available.

Also, if you are affiliated with APU System Assistant (SA), please encourage them to spread this info by printing the instruction and paste them at the wall beside the printing machine (i’m currently on progress doing that). 

Creating A World Without Poverty-Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

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(I wrote this as report for GeoInformatics course by LI Yan, Fall Semester 2007, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Japan)

Ms.Word .doc Version: Creating A World Without Poverty

Creating A World Without Poverty

Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

Figure 1. Percentage_population_living_on_less_than_1_dollar_day

Proverty and Solidarity Lending

Proverty is a major issue facing much humankind of this age. More than before, economic and social gaps are widening particularly in urban areas. One of a major factor that blocks the poor still being poor is that they have no money to produce money. Being able to live out of the box of poverty is a basic human right. Recently one of many solutions stands out and captured attentions of many of those who are concerned with the welfare of the poor. It is a system of Solidarity Lending. An early pioneer of Solidarity Lending, Dr. Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh through his microfinance organization, The Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

What is truly amazing about Solidarity Lending system is how it can alleviates poverty. Like what I mentioned earlier, what blocks many people to live life without poverty is the lack of capital to start up business. To borrow money from banks for business start-up would be very difficult as banks would require thorough complicated procedures and collaterals. Not everybody can afford that, imagine a poor man who has been living his life in rural areas, not only he is deprived of banking knowledge, he does also not have any substantial significant collateral that can be used to make loan deal with banks. Here comes the role of Solidarity Lending banks, lending money to the poor without any need for collateral.

How it Works

How it works is unique of its kind. It works in a system of solidarity lending in form of self help groups. Each borrower must belong to a five-member group however the group is not required to give any guarantee for a loan to its member. This is also beneficial to the Solidarity Lending banks, as there is a fixed cost associated with each loan delivered, bundling individual loans together and permits the group to manage individual relationships can realize substantial savings in administrative and management cost.

The repayment responsibility solely rest on the individual borrower, while the group and the centre oversee that everyone behaves in a responsible way and none gets into repayment problem. However, group members are not responsible to pay on behalf of a defaulting member. (Mohammed Yunus). Dr.Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh describes the dynamics of lending through solidarity groups this way:

… Group membership not only creates support and protection but also smoothes out the erratic behavior patterns of individual members, making each borrower more reliable in the process. Subtle and at times not-so-subtle peer pressure keeps each group member in line with the broader objectives of the credit program.…Because the group approves the loan request of each member, the group assumes moral responsibility for the loan. If any member of the group gets into trouble, the group usually comes forward to help.

Payback rates to the bank were also very high, as noted in Grameen’s Bank track record, 98 percent. Solidarity lending levers various types of social capital like peer pressure, mutual support and a healthy culture of repayment. These characteristics make solidarity lending more useful in rural villages than in urban centres where mobility is greater and social capital is weaker.

Grameen bank focus mainly at rural areas yet and it had been proven very successful at the rural areas of Bangladesh. Not only that rural communities can cooperate better in, but also we have to consider that in rural areas, there are very much opportunity and business fields that can be developed for the betterness of the local community. Even if we assume that a certain village is not in poverty line, we can agree that there would still be much to be done for the sake of better life of the people. Somebody would be better starting off electricity accessibility in the village, either it through the hard way of conventional electric line or by using SHS (Solar Home System), utilizing solar panel electricity which is eco-friendly and is more suitable for isolated village areas due to its portability. And from there we can list a lot more businesses that can be generated through the accessibility of electricity in the village. And of course, all of those efforts would require quite a sum of money, which is a big barrier for innovation and improvements.

Future Implications

Figure 2. As can be seen from figure above, people living in rural areas are still of much significance of the population

Modernization of a rural community is not a simple task that each government of each country can handle and take care of. If the process of modernization of rural communities are left up to the hands of government, it would take several more decades to see some significant results. In the contrast, what governments should let the people of rural communities themselves be in primary responsibility of the improvements and modernization of their own area, government would be good playing as supporting and facilitating role in it, particularly by fostering accessability of funds, in which Solidarity Lending system have proved very successful.In deeper analysis, it is not wrong to say that the Solidarity Lending system can be regarded as one of a tool key in promoting prosperity of the whole, both as individual and as a nation. Such system grows the economy of the nation by utilizing rural communities to also take bigger part in it. Production of service and goods can increase more which then provides more opportunity for export and trade, or at least for the nation’s own consumption itself, therefore also in by-effect reducing dependency on other nations, being more independent economically. As earnings increase, taxing would also increase as well as consumption therefore benefiting producers and manufacturers.

So far, we have only been seeing it in scope of rural communities, but as we broadens our view to bigger scope of urban communities, we can be amazed at how much benefit it would be for everybody if this Solidarity Lending system can work out well in such areas. By available accessability of business-start up funds, people would be more encouraged to own business rather than to work for somebody else , entrepreneurship would grow at higher rate which means innovative businesses and sectors would soon to be seen in the areas impacted, resulting in richer life of the general society. More convenience in a more narrow scope of a certain area even if we  are to assume that the community lacks the will of entrepreneurship. 

What is more important from the point above is how at least people having opportunity to own their own businesses not only reduce unemployment rate by employing themselves as the business owner, but also that the act of opening up businesses provides more job vacancies for many other people. Not only this result in similar economic advantage as analyzed before in case of rural communities (but at much more larger scale), but also it has much beneficial effects in the social point of view, therefore socioeconomic impacts as a whole. As unemployment rate decrease followed by increase in earnings, crime rate, particularly those crimes conducted by the poors would drop, benefiting the society as a whole. Continual increase in personal expenditure of the poor would allow access for better health and reduce illiteracy and increase education rate. Again, the benefits never always only goes to the poor, but impacts the society as a whole in positive ways.

So as we can see from simple analysis above, if we can improve the economy and well-beingness of people in the lowest part of the economy pyramid (the lowest but also the most in number as constituents of the pyramid), the whole pyramid itself would grow in size, therefore it is betterness for all.

References 

World Development Indicators (2007) (http://ddp-ext.worldbank.org) WorldBank. Retrieved on 2007, Nov

Wikipedia (2007). Poverty. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty)

Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2007, NovWikipedia (2007). Solidarity Lending. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solidarity_lending) Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2007, Nov

Wikipedia (2007). Grameen. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grameen) Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2007, Nov  

Further Reading (Books)    

         

 

Extra: Get Involved!

(From: http://www.grameenfoundation.org )

Donate: Help launch very poor women as entrepreneurs through tiny loans that help them escape poverty: Donate Online Now Donate Online Now

More ways you can make a difference:
Honor someone special Honor someone special
Employee matching
Fund a poor child’s education
More ways to donate

Spread the word: Learn how you can use online tools such as our website or your own blog to tell others about the power of microfinance.

What do you find most inspirational about microfinance and our fight against world poverty? Perhaps you’re touched by the story of a microfinance client, or excited about one of our program initiatives, or interested in how technology can help the world’s poor. Whatever your interest, here are some ways to spread the word: ·    Send a free e-card ·    Organize a friendraiser ·    E-mail a page to a friend ·    Use del.icio.us ·    Feature us on your blog ·    Use our brochure

(More details at: http://www.grameenfoundation.org/get_involved/spread_the_word/ )

Stay informed: Subscribe to our free eNewsletter Subscribe to our free eNewsletter to stay abreast of the latest news and events, and read past eNewsletters. You can also listen to a message from Alex Counts, president of Grameen Foundation.

Organize a “Friend”raiser: Raise awareness and funds for Grameen Foundation by hosting a fun event. Learn more and obtain our toolkit, a guide on organizing a successful event.

Work with us: Grameen Foundation periodically has a variety of employment and consulting opportunities available at our Washington, DC office and around the world. We welcome qualified applicants committed to helping the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of poverty with dignity.

We offer several kinds of opportunities for you to work with the Grameen Foundation – a group of friendly, multi-cultural professionals.

Employment opportunities are ideal for professionals seeking a career in the dynamic field of microfinance.

Internships are short-term positions that provide a valuable opportunity to gain experience while learning about Grameen Foundation’s work.

Consulting opportunities are short-term contract projects with our partners around the world or short-term contracts for assignments at our US offices.

Volunteer opportunities are open to career professionals whose talents and interests align with the mission of the Grameen Foundation.  

Green Living – Mejiron MyBag

Do you know that in for example Marushoku, you can get gifts and small prizes for bringing your own plastic bag instead of using the cashier plastic bags? Yeah, get extra benefit n be rewarded for treating the Mother Nature nicely!

 

So how does it work and how should you do it?

1. Bring your own plastic bag to shop at Marushoku or related stores. Hand it to the reji(cashier) and ask for a new card(if you are new). As for the name, probably you can call it “Mejiron”, so just say to the cashier, “Atarashii Mejiron kado wo kudasai.” No any application or fee required of course.

2. The simple card is made of paper and have 20 brachets on the back side for stamping (if a card is filled 20 stamps, you can ask for a new one). So everytime you shop using your own plastic bag, you will get one stamp on it from the cashier. (Don’t forget to hand in the card when you are paying your shopping bill at the cashier!) 

3. Accumulated stamps on the backside of the card can be exchanged for gifts/presents.  Many kinds of small gifts are available, the one that interest me most is a mejiron shopping bag that can be exchanged for 100 stamps.  Where to exchange it? Just inside the marushoku store itself. I’m not so sure the exact location as i haven’t get 100 stamps myself, so just ask the staffs ok?heheh

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University – Indonesian Language Version