Tenth Anniversary October 2009

A brief History of Yayasan Goodwill International

New Beginnings: The ICAC Years

The years 1997 to 1998 marked the start of an historic era in Indonesia, when the country was shaken by a regional economic crisis that triggered national upheaval, and which led to socio-political changes that had been brewing for several years. These changes were urged by student movements across the country, and an unprecedented number of youths took to the streets in anti-government, pro-democracy demonstrations, helping to oust the autocratic regime in May 1998 and to usher in democratic reform.

During this period of turmoil, many students dropped out of university because they could no longer afford the costs of their education. They faced financial difficulties not only in meeting their tuition and registration fees, but also in supporting their daily needs, including regular meals.

On hearing about these problems directly from a student, Sri Lienau, then Coordinator of the Community Service Department at ICAC (the International Community Activity Center) became concerned about the future of dropout students and thus the future of Indonesia. In response, Sri initiated a scholarship program for undergraduate students, and was joined immediately in this endeavor by Catherine Weenk, an ICAC volunteer.

They spent the next several months drawing up a blueprint for the new program, often holding their planning meetings and discussions at night to accommodate Cathy’s professional commitments. The ICAC Community Service Committee was appointed to administer and manage the program, which offered both financial assistance and the Leadership Training Program from the very beginning.

The program’s mission was “To support and assist students who have the potential but not the financial means to make a positive impact to Indonesian society through continuous community service and applying their field of study to the future benefit and improvement of their country.”

The ICAC scholarship program also carried strict selection criteria for successful candidates, who had to demonstrate:

To apply, students needed to submit an application form along with essays, references and formal documentation attesting to their financial circumstances.

In February 1999, with the support of similarly concerned individuals, corporations and organizations, the ICAC Leadership Development Scholarship Program was launched. The first group of successful recipients comprised 25 students who were in their second semester of the 1998-99 academic year at the University of Indonesia (UI) and the Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).

In May the following year, the program held an overnight training retreat in Carita, West Java, with the venue and transportation costs fully provided by generous sponsors. This event was an extension of the Leadership Training Program and the first training on public speaking.

In the same year the ICAC mailing list was created, allowing the Community Service Committee and scholarship students to communicate smoothly through the “Berita Rabuan”, a weekly communiqué distributed on Wednesdays.

Two years later in January 2002, the inaugural two-day Special Training was held at Wisma Kinasih, Bogor. The Special Training at Kinasih was developed from the Carita Retreat and included speech and debate competitions as well as team-building games, all organized by students. From 2002 through 2007, this annual training was made possible upon the kind donation of Janet Hodges from her son’s memorial fund. Janet’s son, Simon Raggles, was one of the first individual sponsors of the ICAC scholarship.

Since 2008, the Special Training at Kinasih has been enabled upon another generous donation, from the Mike McGowan Memorial Fund through AmCham Indonesia.

After running the scholarship program successfully for the first five years, it became evident that the changes arising from the historic events of 1998 had also affected the stability of ICAC. Faced with challenges as to the center’s very survival, in September 2003 the ICAC Board of Directors agreed to establish a new entity to take over the programs of the Community Service Department.

The emegence of Yayasan Goodwill International

By this time, Sri and Cathy had both departed from Indonesia and Charles Pollard, who had actively sought sponsors for the program and had been a sponsor himself, emerged to manage the financial and developmental aspects of the transition. The new entity was launched in March 2004 as Yayasan Goodwill International, with Sri Lienau, Cathy Weenk, Charles Pollard and former ICAC director Bunbun Guharoy as Founding Members. Yayasan Goodwill International is a registered charity under Indonesia’s Yayasan Law.

Under Yayasan Goodwill International, the program’s principles remain fundamentally unchanged since its inception under ICAC, and it still provides exclusive support for Bachelor students at UI and IPB as well as for undergraduate residencies. Small refinements have been made to bring the program up to date, such as the inclusion of a non-discriminatory clause regarding ethnicity, gender and area of study.

Over the past ten years, 540 students have been awarded scholarships, of which 74 are current recipients of the Yayasan Goodwill International Leadership Development Scholarship. To date, 459 students have graduated with degrees in disciplines as diverse as Agriculture, Arabic Studies, Biology, Business & Economics, Communications, Computer Science, Dutch Studies, Engineering, Fisheries & Marine Sciences, Forestry, History, Law, Physics, Political & Social Sciences, Psychology and Public Health; this includes the 34 students who have completed their residencies in Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine.

Many of our students have continued their studies and matriculated to graduate and postgraduate programs at universities in Indonesia as well as abroad, including those in Australia, France, Korea, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States; others have gone on to professional internships and employment in government, corporations, non-governmental organizations and international agencies.

Many alumni – including those who graduated under the ICAC program – maintain active ties with Yayasan Goodwill International, speaking or helping out at our annual events; some have also become volunteer instructors in our Leadership Training Program, passing down their knowledge and experiences to the succeeding generation of Goodwillers.

In such ways, our students are paving the way toward a better future – a future that belongs to them and their country – while keeping alive the community and humanitarian spirit that gave birth to this program.