Salam Kenal! (greetings!) We are an Indonesian non-profit organization, Solar Chapter. If you didn’t know, we are a dedicated group of university students that are committed to helping and developing remote rural areas in Indonesia through sustainable methods. We have successfully implemented two chapters in Desa Umutnana, helping more than 700 people. To know more, about Solar Chapter, access our website: https://solarchapter.com/. You’re just one click away!
To celebrate our first birthday, we thought it would be amazing to share the humble beginnings of Solar Chapter and how our baby project have grown to surpass everybody’s expectations.
As the old adage goes: ‘great things come from humble beginnings’. Solar Chapter was once a mere idea; one might even say a self-deluding, confused fantasy of an equally confused undergraduate student. The undergraduate was none other than our founder Mustika (Ika) Wijaya - a source of light whom we adore.
Most who know Ika would describe her as a bundle of energy. She is a selfless individual who yearned to do work that benefitted more than just herself. She wanted to be more involved with volunteer organizations in Indonesia, but her options were limited as she was a full-time student studying abroad. Ika decided to constitute an organization that progressed in a pace that is suitable for Indonesian students; her vision: an organization that would help remote areas in Indonesia, and provide a means that afforded Indonesian students who are studying abroad to give back to Indonesia. This organization would then be called Solar Chapter.
To call Solar Chapter’s beginning a rocky start is a big understatement. Solar Chapter was only an idea for the longest time because, in a lot of eyes, it was an impossible reality. Nonetheless, Ika persisted because she knew that Solar Chapter did not just represent an impossible idea, it represented an impossible future for Indonesia, a future she wanted to make people believe can be a reality.
Ika received harsh discouragement and pessimism from her peers. Back in Indonesia, her mission was dismissed as an object of ridicule: “You’re just another girl with big dreams” “Are you sure this is even going to work?” “Where are you going to get funding?” “Who is going to believe in YOU?” But no matter what comments she received, she was ready to dig her feet to the ground because she only needed to believe in what she was doing for Solar Chapter.
Solar Chapter first consisted of four members. A pivotal point for the organization were the initial donations made. First, there were small-dollar donations, then individuals started to donate hundreds of dollars, then, there were large benefactors donating thousands of dollars for the organization. Before they knew it, Solar Chapter had successfully collected 300 million Indonesian Rupiah in the span of two and a half months. It was inspiring to see how many people started believing in the reality we tried to create with Solar Chapter.
We fast forward to today, in the new academic year, Solar Chapter has opened subdivisions that are operating in University of Michigan and Purdue University. Ika has also graduated and retired her position as president, believing that the new members would be able to continue her legacy.
Just a year ago, Solar Chapter was an impossible and ridiculous idea to pursue and just a year ago it was also an impossible idea for the villagers in Desa Umutnana and the kids in the area to dream for a better future. The founding members of Solar Chapter have proved to us and to everyone that with hard work and passion, a lot of things can be possible. We have completed projects and we are growing rapidly thanks to all the support and love we receive. We will continue to grow and do the best we can to improve the living conditions for less fortunate people in Indonesia.
We dedicate our first blog to our founder, Ika. We thank her for all her efforts and her tenacious passion. We hope that our future aspirations and endeavors would still mirror her dream for Solar Chapter, an organization where students could be a ray of hope for a brighter future.
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Have a great day!