On Sunday 28th of March one could see a huge crowd gathering at a gallery building in Cikini, Central Jakarta – women and men chattering happily and children running around and playing, all enjoying Indonesian food and music. The reason for this proud gathering was the 25th anniversary of the women’s rights NGO, Kalyanamitra. Also the Embassy of Finland was invited, as it had supported this deserving NGO on its extensive 2009 seminar series. Altogether there were over 300 people present, from women’s groups, civil society, partners, donors and media.
The theme of this anniversary was “Changes for Women”, which reflects Kalyanamitra’s long road and continuous work towards gender equality. During this all day event the program consisted of presentations and an insightful discussion between Sita Aripurnami , the founder of Kalyanamitra, Dr S. Subagyo, a representative from the Ministry of Women empowerment and Child protection and Ms Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of parliament.
Some advice was given for Kalyanamitra for the future: it should strengthen its role as a women’s communication and information centre and consolidate its cooperation with other women’s rights’ organizations for a stronger advocacy impact. It should keep working on the often very gender-biased mindsets of the communities. Several women stood up to express their appreciation of the support they had received from Kalyanamitra. The name means “Good Friend” (Kalyana means “Good” and Mitra means ”Friend” in Sanskrit language) and this is exactly how the organization seems to be perceived by many of the women beneficiaries.