Inspiring Visit to an Orphanage in Bandung

A couple weeks ago I’ve had another chance to visit Mutiara Bani Sholihin (MBS), a non-profit organisation operated orphanage located at the east side of Bandung city. This orphanage was established in 2007 and started from rented house with very minimum facility. Now we are blessed that the orphanage is giving shelter to 66 children in which 35 are residing in the orphanage and the other 31 live in with their relatives with support from MBS.

Mutiara Bani Sholihin gives shelter to not only orphanage that lost both their parents. They also give support to children whose parent in poor economic situation and hence not able to support their children. The youngest member of the orphanage family is 3 year old with the most senior on age 18 year old. The orphanage operates two houses which called Rumah Ceria 1 & 2 ( House of Joy 1 and 2). The houses started with a very minimum facility and being expanded several time to be better accommodating the children. They managed to collect fund to buy the land and now continuing to improve the houses with more rooms and better facilities.

MBS’s one of their two Orphanage Houses

Indonesia government operated orphanage has never been providing enough coverage to take care all the orphanage or unattended children in the country. It is always frustrating that almost every day I see headline of unlucky children become a victim of poverty. I’ve always longed for a government service that could be as good as the one in developed country such as an example that my friend Joko shared in this article ( . In the other hand, I do understand why Indonesia is still struggling to improve its orphanage service. Limitation of state budget is indeed one of the reasons especially by considering the complexity of taking care the children in the way they could grow healthy and thrive at life.

A non-profit organisation operated orphanage like Mutiara Bani Sholihin (MBS) helps the country and the society to take the responsibility of taking care these unlucky children. With great care and love, they stood up to build the orphanage although with very limited facility at their disposal. They believe with good will and determination, God will give them a way to run a place where the orphans can live in a situation and caring as close as possible to those children who live at home with their parents taking care themselves day to day. This has always been the thinking of Mr Sugriyono, one of the founder of MBS.

I am a strong believer of careful planning and good preparation. However, I also believe that strong determination will improve people chance to achieve their goals by opening windows of opportunity. This is what I see from MBS when they had problems in the past. They eventually manage to sort out problem like the one when their newly adopted child arrived in MBS.

One day the orphanage received a request to take care a baby who was born prematurely at 7 month of pregnancy and hence his weight was only 1.3 kg and in seriously weak condition. MBS, at that time was struggling to improve their service and facility to support the available orphans, was facing a difficult situation whether to accept the seriously ill baby with an immediate risk on very expensive medical treatment or to reject the request and probably making the baby boy not having a chance to survive and being abandoned to dying in his helpless situation. MBS caregivers decided to shelter the baby with a belief that God must have given everyone their own path to thrive in life. It was not an easy choice as two weeks after the baby boy arrived; he was sent to intensive care unit due to loss of consciousness and had a period of losing his breath. Thank God that with medical effort and prayer from the orphanage family, the boy survived that critical situation, grow healthy and become a proud member of MBS until now. His was named “Mandiri Bani Shodikin” and he is 3 years old now. Part of his name which is “Mandiri” is Indonesian word meaning “having a determination and ability to stand on own his feet”. He surely has it!

MBS also showed several examples where unexpected support/donation came just at the right time when it is needed. Those stories are an inspiring true story and could readjust our way of thinking in appreciating the life.

I felt really relieved to hear those stories. I have a great optimism that MBS already have a good network of donor so in the event of emergency they would have better chance to obtain support from the community. However that doesn’t mean MBS struggle to achieve their goal is finished. Problem will always come as they accept more orphan in the future especially with regards to the completeness of the facility and service such as by providing a more established house, its appliances and children care activities.

There would be also a great need on educational fund once the children reached higher level of education. Ms Dedeh, one of the founders and caregivers told me that currently they are having two of their children attending college. The number would – and I think should – increase as the other children grow to the higher educational level age. This is very important to break the chain of poverty and allowing the children to be more independent in both financial and social aspect so they can contribute better to the orphanage in the future. There will be big need of educational fund in the near future and I think this would be a very great opportunity for donation for those who would like to allocate some of their wealth for good and impactful cause.

Ms Dedeh when sharing the History of Mutiara Bani Sholihin

I do really hope that MBS and other place with this ideal are always within a reach from people who are gifted with wealth and time. It is important for people support and help to improve such place as this is our responsibility to the humanity especially when government service has not reached the sufficient level of coverage.

Visit to orphanage such as MBS has always been an inspiring moment to me. I always felt recharged every time I saw the smile of MBS children knowing that they are in a good and caring hand. I would encourage any of you traveling to Bandung to visit MBS or other orphanage and try to see if you can find something you can contribute. Let us do our part to help shaping a better future for those children.

Contact :

Yayasan Yatim Piatu & Dhuafa Mutiara Bani Sholihin

Address : Kavling Islamic, Jalan Mekar Biru Blok D No 154, Desa Cibiru Hilir, Kecamatan Cileunyi, Kabupaten Bandung (+62 22 92379504)


Menjadi Pejalan Kaki di Tokyo

Ditengah kesibukan saya menganalisis data-data hasil praktikum untuk diserahkan kepada asisten profesor  besok, saya tergoda untuk membuka situs blog sahabat saya di ITB yang bercerita mengenai kondisi sarana pejalan kaki di Bandung. Dia bercerita bahwa sesungguhnya banyak kenikmatan dan keuntungan yang kita dapat dari berjalan kaki. Baik itu berjalan kaki menuju tempat aktivitas kerja atau kuliah, ataupun berjalan kaki sekedar menyegarkan pikiran dan pandangan dari keterbatasan jarak pandang kita yang terkurung dalam ruangan dengan luas beberapa meter saja.

Hal yang dia tekankan dalam ‘berjalan kaki di Bandung’ adalah betapa kita tidak bisa menikmati indahnya berjalan kaki di Kota Bandung. Ia mengungkapkan betapa minimnya ‘pedestrian area’, ataupun sarana-sarana lainnya yang menunjang seorang pejalan kaki di Bandung.

Lima ribu kilometer lebih dari Bandung, saya terdampar di sebuah kota bernama Tokyo. Kota yang memiliki peringkat tinggi dalam keteraturan dan kenyamanan transportasi penduduknya. Satu hal besar yang saya amati adalah pemerintah Tokyo telah berhasil mengintegrasikan sistem transportasi masal dengan sistem transportasi berjalan kaki (di dalamnya termasuk penggunaan sepeda).

Di Tokyo, kereta bisa dibilang sebagai sebuah moda transportasi masal utama. Sistem kereta di tokyo merupakan salah satu sistem kereta kota terumit di Dunia. Hebatnya, didalam kerumitan ini terdapat kenyamanan dalam mengakses pusat-pusat aktivitas yang kita tuju. Sistem penjadwalan di Tokyo sangat tepat waktu dan sesuai dengan peak hour condition dimana jadwal kereta akan lebih pada pada jam-jam sibuk. Waktu perjalanan bisa dengan mudah didapat dari situs-situs yang menyediakan informasi jadwal, rute, waktu tempuh, dan tarif.

Namun, sangatlah tidak mungkin jika stasiun-stasiun kereta harus tersedia tiap 100 meter sebagaimana lazimnya angkot atau bus kota di Bandung yang bisa berhenti dimanapun pelanggan meminta. Sistem berhenti sebuah kereta sangat bergantung oleh stasiun-stasiun yang tersedia. Tanpa stasiun tersedia, Kereta tidak diperbolehkan berhenti kecuali dalam kondisi darurat.

Untuk mengatasi hal ini, diperlukan sistem ‘pengumpulan’ pelanggan yang menuju ke stasiun kereta. Di Tokyo, sistem itu dilakukan dengan moda transportasi bis, taksi, sepeda, dan berjalan kaki. Salah satu moda yang paling banyak digunakan adalah moda ‘berjalan kaki’.

Kenyamanan berjalan kaki di Tokyo bisa dilihat dari selalu tersedianya jalur khusus pejalan kaki di jalan-jalan yang dengan volume kendaraan dan pejalan kaki yang besar. Di jalur ini, pejalan kaki merupakan prioritas utama pengguna jalur. Pada perlitasan antara jalur pejalan kaki dan jalur jalan kendaraan, jika ada mobil yang hendak melintas, mobil tersebut harus menunggu hingga tidak ada lagi pejalan kaki yang melintas di jalur perlintasan tersebut. Selama menunggu, mobil itu tidak membunyikan klakson, memelototi pejalan kaki dalam melintas, atau meng’gerung-gerung’kan mesin tanda tak sabar menunggu seperti yang lazim diperlihatkan pengguna kendaraan di Bandung. Bahkan, pada malam hari, penendara mobil akan mematikan lampu depannya saat ada pejalan kaki yang melintas jalur perlintasan.

Di Tokyo, selama kita ada di jalur pejalan kaki, kita tidak perlu terlalu memperhatikan kondisi sekeliling kita selama berjalan. Tidak perlu terlalu khawatir ada mobil yang melintas secara tiba-tiba, juga tidak perlu menggunakan jalan utama karena ada kendaraan yang parkir di jalur pejalan kaki. Kita bisa dengan santai mendengarkan musik tanpa mendengar suara lingkungan sekitar. Yang kita butuhkan adalah melihat simbol lampu hijau bagi pejalan kaki dalam menyebrang dan rambu-rambu batas jalur pejalan kaki.

Selain hal diatas, kenyamanan pun didapat pada saat hujan. Sistem drainase jalan bekerja dengan sangat memuaskan. Jalur pejalan kaki, sebagaimana jalur kendaraan, didesain untuk terbebas dari genangan air. Tidak perlu khawatir sepatu kita terendam genangan air di jalan, tidak perlu khawatir tersemprot air dari genangan air yang tergilas ban kendaraan. Tidak perlu terlalu khawatir akan licinya jalan akibat genangan air dalam seperti yang banyak terlihat di Bandung.

Beberapa contoh diatas cukup menggambarkan betapa nyamannya menjadi pejalan kaki di Tokyo. Hal diatas tentu terlepas dari dinginnya berjalan kaki saat musim dingin atau berkeringatnya pejalan kaki saat musim panas. Hal tersebut adalah faktor alam yang sistem rekayasanya belum dapat diaplikasikan di wilayah luas terbuka seperti jalan.

Yang perlu kita pelajari adalah bagaimana pemerintah Tokyo (dan mungkin Jepang) begitu memperhatikan kenyamanan pejalan kaki dengan menciptakan kondisi yang aman dan nyaman dalam berjalan kaki. Dampak langsungnya bisa terlihat dari berkurangnya pengguna kendaraan pribadi yang ada di jalan dan lebih efisiennya penggunan transportasi masal kota.

“Arrrggkkhh..!! kapan Bandung bisa kek begini..?? yang ada makin panas dan makin penuh dengan polusi sekarang ini..” (dikutip dari blog Aryansyah :