Maelanny Purwaningrum

Maelanny Purwaningrum (Backward Education Society – BASE): Maelanny grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia. She earned a Bachelors Degree in International Relations from Padjadjaran University, Indonesia. The following year, she received a scholarship from the Norwegian Center for Human Rights to continue her studies at Oslo University and at the time of her fellowship she was pursuing a Masters Degree on human rights at the faculty of law in Oslo. Maelanny’s academic interests include children’s rights, Islam, and international development. After her fellowship she wrote: “It has broadened my mind on the complex problems that Nepal faces but not covered by the news. I appreciate social entrepreneurship more than before.”

The Journey to Love Blanket

21 Aug

“Yesterday is a History, Tomorrow is a Mystery, Today is a Gift, That’s why it’s called the Present”

An inspirational quote, an ancient one which has been modified into various version. I got familiar with it after watching one of my favorite animation movie, Kung Fu Panda. On the scene, Master Shifu (the wise sensei) was trying to cheer up Po (the clumsy panda bear) when he felt down.

The quote implies an important message to make the most of time we have, regardless of the past we had or the uncertain future we face. I personally believe that the quote also means that we need to learn from the past without getting trapped by it, as Sukarno (Indonesia First President) taught Indonesian not to forget the history, but also to look at the future without being obsessed by it.

Drawing upon the quote, this time, the Love Blanket carries the message about the past and the future of Nepali children. Without losing its original philosophy as a symbol of love and protection (First Love Blanket), the Second Love Blanket also tells about the experiences of the rescued child laborers and the dreams of brighter future of Nepali children. The blankets consist of panels which were made by rescued child laborers and school children. I hope the blankets can be a good means to learn about the plight of child labor in Nepal and be a trigger to do something in order to help those children reaching a brighter future.

Producing the panels with the children was exciting. But it was not without challenges. Expressing their feeling, experience, or dream through art was not common for them, most of them haven’t even tried painting before. By the help from BASE’s staffs in the field we managed to organize the children to paint on the panels using brushes and colorful paints, but it got more challenging when we asked them to paint based on a theme. Figures such as house, water pump, and mountain were their favorite.

A letter was written to accompany the panel. The children wrote letters about their experience, their dream of the future, or simply about their daily activity. I found out it wasn’t an easy task either. Some rescued children were left out at their study because they used to work while others enjoyed schooling, they needed help to write just a simple letter.

It was such a journey to meet the children, a journey that brings me to the reality of child labor in the south-western part of Nepal.

Check out the video and feel the journey!

For those interested in attending or hosting Love Blanket exhibition, feel free to contact me.

Posted By Maelanny Purwaningrum

Posted Aug 21st, 2011

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