Tue, 07 Nov 2000

Matraman youths to be given business training

JAKARTA (JP): In an apparent attempt to help reduce prolonged clashes in the brawl-ridden Matraman area in East Jakarta, the National Board of Social Welfare (BKSN) is holding a workshop on small-scale enterprises empowerment for some 100 youths and community leaders in the area.

BKSN chairman Anak Agung Gde Agung said on Monday that 100 participants from Palmeriam, Kebon Manggis (Berland) and Kayu Manis subdistricts are joining the workshop from Monday until Wednesday next week in Cianjur, West Java.

Anak Agung said the workshop was held to promote the participants' social resilience, understanding about national unity and cooperation to set up joint productive enterprises.

"In another words, the scheme is part of the government's efforts to settle the prolonged clashes among local Matraman residents," said Anak Agung as quoted by Antara.

Anak Agung believed that the scheme would be able to reduce the scale of the clashes as the program would provide an opportunity for the young residents, who are mostly jobless, to set up businesses of their own.

"Therefore, the participants will be able to earn revenue from the activities," he said.

He also believed that reduced idle time would decrease the youth's desire to get involved in the clashes.

Anak Agung said that after completing the training, the participants would be divided in groups to run home industries, in which each group would have 10 members from three different subdistricts.

He said the board would give the participants the initial capital to start the business.

"Initially, the board will form 10 groups, each will be given an initial capital of Rp 10 million (US$1,075)," he said.

Anak Agung, however, did not elaborate on when the next phase would be carried out.

A participant, A. Djamal, 30, praised the program, saying that the job opportunities offered would be able to diminish clashes among the dwellers.

"The youths, who are jobless, are very sensitive. Therefore once a resident says something offensive against the opposite residents, then it will create a clash," said Djamal, a dweller of Palmeriam subdistrict, said as quoted by Antara.

Ali, a senior figure of the Palmeriam subdistrict, confirmed that the 100 participants departed for Cianjur on Monday.

"It's a positive program. However, the most important thing is the follow-up of the workshop.

"The government should give them guidance after completing the workshop, since they have very minimal experience to run small businesses," he told The Jakarta Post by phone on Monday.

He said the scheme would not be able to reach its target, if there was no such follow-up.

The clashes, which mostly occur between residents of Kebon Manggis and Palmeriam subdistricts, have occurred for the past 30 years. The clash was initially sparked by the sons of former national independence fighters in Berland, against their opponents who were mostly sons of former KNIL (Netherlands troops) in Palmeriam.

The city administration has made efforts to provide alternative solutions for the prolonged clashes on several occasions, including holding gatherings, but with no success. (asa)