The Board of ARI
The Director of ARI
The Entire ARI staff
The Entire ARI staff
Volunteers, TA / GI's and visitors
Volunteers, TA / GI's and visitors
Dear fellow participants
Time goes by so slowly at the beginning, but now we feel it is too fast and soon we will leave this beloved campus. For nine months we, 27 participants from 15 countries, have been growing together in this place coming from different backgrounds and customs, ways of thinking, religions, ethnicities and languages. But in a community of mutual support among staffs, volunteers and participants, all the differences became a medium for us to learn from each other.
Each one of us have grown in different ways and we all shall surely share our experiences in Japan with our sending bodies and families back home. On behalf of my fellow participants I would like to give a special word of thanks firstly to our sending bodies, for selecting us for this training from among others who wish to have this same opportunity. Secondly special thanks also to our different sponsors who took care of our travel bills and training costs in Japan. Thirdly I would like to thank all the supporters of ARI who have supported us in different ways to make this training go successfully. Finally, thank you to all the staff of ARI, the Director, Volunteers, Training Assistants and Graduate Interns for the wonderful company which has been recorded deep into our minds.
You were able to manage our differences especially those of us who had language problems. Thank you for being able to tolerate our mistakes and encouraging us to grow. Thanks to the curriculum coordinator for making morning gathering and morning exercise part of our training, for through this we could share our experiences during morning gathering and also our health was maintained because of the morning exercises.
I want to share a special word of thanks to our consultants for their continuous care, guiding our focus on what learnings we wanted to gain. We also thank the school for taking care of the health of some of my brothers and sisters who were sick during our stay here in ARI. We wish to thank the school administration for the advice given to us to contact our sending bodies 3 times during our stay here in Japan because this will enable our sending bodies to understand our dreams easily and they will surely accept and assist in the implementation process.
Permit me to take this opportunity to share my personal reflection of my learning in ARI. As a food security program officer in my sending body in Indonesia, I found a key to start food sovereignty in the villages. There are insurance for goods such as cars, buildings, and other valuables and even for our soul. But there is no insurance for the agricultural activities carried out by the villagers. Yet, they have always proven to get past all these high risk. They are the heroes of food security, but those who bear the greatest risk of hunger. Rural areas collectively are the provider of food for the world. In ARI we practiced self-sufficiency. 90% of our food needs are met from the fields that we managed together; participants, staff & volunteers.
Field management activity is a central learning in ARI which is where we work on the management of crop & vegetables, livestock and the kitchen. We are divided into different groups, so we have diverse management of crop production and different schedule of planting and harvesting produce. But we worked together, collecting all for everybody in this community. Through this type of diverse management of the fields, if there was no harvest from one field because it was attacked by pests or other causes, we still had harvest from other fields. This learning proves to me that farmer's communities are the most dependable group who manifest food sovereignty, even though there is no insurance for their farming activities.
A major learning for me was Independent learning in ARI. In this one person could not depend on others to do things for them, but we lived together with a responsibility of interdependency. This was in the field, kitchen, dishwashing and many other activities here which opened my eyes about what in reality a community should be. There are people who have come as volunteers & visitors as well as former staff, volunteers or graduates who come again to this campus. Through this we come to understand that life along the line of the three loves; Love God- love soil- love neighbor in ARI is always making people yearn to come back. I also connot forget that as a community of farmers here, we also gave thanks to God for the harvest this year during the Harvest Thanksgiving Celebration.
As rural leaders, we learned a very good way to lead our community, that is through servant leadership. We did not only watch movies and discuss about leaders and movements in the world such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King but we also were continuously educated in daily activities here. We saw and experienced real servant leadership in ARI which has changed our minds as grass root leaders.
Participants who came to ARI are prepared and able to hone their ability as a leader to return to their village / country for doing community development and community organizing, not just personally but through institutions. My church community and my sending body who recommended me to learn here started several activities related with Organic Farming and Food Security. I have learnt about Community Development which was held by Nishinasuno Church related with ARI traning. This little church gave me an example of how a church institution started, maintained and implemented community development with strong leadership as they have. Strong leadership is one of the skills that must be owned by a community leader when she/ he wants to make a movement sustainable.
The Environment and development are also important issues for our community which we learned in this school. As rural leaders, we should understand the root cause of problems in our society. We give thanks to ARI for organizing the study tours which exposed us to the Japanese culture and community so that we were able to compare life on campus with the reality in other places in Japan. We could compare rural society and urban society in Japan and see that they both have different problems. We studied about the impact of development on the environment, and we invited people to study about it, so that when they face similar cases, they can think critically and do something important to respond, and also to protect their community.
To all participants I wish to say congratulations for respecting yourselves till the end. I cannot end my speech without giving a special word of thanks to my group members for their encouragement during my terms of leadership. Also thanks to some special friends who have helped to improve my language and reasoning within the community.
We would like to give a special word of appreciation to all of you from far and near, who have come to witness this commencement service. We will say good bye but that should not be the end of our relationship with ARI but rather it should be the beginning of a new era and kind of learning between us, our different sending bodies and ARI. Nine months we passed in togetherness in this campus. Learning in ARI is very unique, multi-dimensional and weighty. We are very grateful that we became a big family at ARI which shaped us to be new personality as leaders for continuing our service to our communities back home. .
I would like to end my speech here by asking all the participants to keep the flame of the ARI spirit burning and maintaining its reputation as a school that has lasted for over 40 years by our work with our sending bodies. I wish everyone a very happy X-mas and a happy and prosperous New year 2015.
God Bless you all
Eunike Widhi Wardani
Trukajaya Christian Foundation
Jl.Cemara II/ 65