These friendly faces belong to just a few of the 64 resident children cared for by Panti Asuhan Hairun Nisaa, a Jakarta orphanage and boarding house established in 1986. The institution also provides food and services for 193 children and 247 elderly people of the neighborhood. The founder of Panti Asuhan Hairun Nisaa, Mrs. Lies Haryoso, aims to provide a "normal life" for the children with focus on education, cultural activities and sports along with a balanced diet.
However, the Indonesian economic crisis in early 1990s has left the institution with limited funding sources. Currently they receive Rp. 3000 ($0.40) a day per child from the government, but this is insufficient to cover all their costs. The USAID-funded Transitional Activities Program, managed by Mercy Corps, came as an answer to Mrs. Lies's prayers. In January 2001, Panti Asuhan Hairun Nisaa began receiving monthly food distributions of rice, wheat-soy blend and vegetable oil as part of the program. According to Mrs. Lies, this has solved one problem, as she no longer has to worry about having enough food. With extra resources available, she is able to invest more in education and maintaining good living conditions for the children.
Mrs. Lies realizes that donations will not continue forever. During bi-monthly meetings facilitated by Mercy Corps, she learns and shares with other institutions how to find other income sources to meet the children's needs. Mrs. Lies plans to operate a small business from Panti Asuhan Hairun Nisaa, so the institution will be able to create its own sources of income.
She says, "Where there is a will, there is a way" - not only for the institution, but in making the dreams of the children come true.