A team from Islamic Relief Australia (IRAUS) visited areas in Lombok from 4-7 April 2015 where Islamic Relief Indonesia is working with local communities, utilising funds generously donated by Australians to support poor and marginalised communities.

Visiting eight remote villages on the island of Lombok in the Province of West Nusa Tenggara, one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia, the team realised how difficult life is without a supply of fresh, clean water. Due to drought and the lowering of the water table, even deep wells have dried up thus making it harder for the communities to access clean water. Islamic Relief (IR) has drilled deep bore wells to access potable water and, with contributions from donors, installed pumps and water tanks providing water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing. An innovative system allows any waste water to irrigate vegetable gardens and plots of medicinal plants.

IRAUS QLD’s Susan Al-maani examines the growing mushrooms

IRAUS QLD’s Susan Al-maani examines the growing mushrooms

To help improve the lives of poor women, widows, orphans and especially women who are their family breadwinners, IR introduced a Mushroom Cultivation Project. The Project provides training, marketing skills and infrastructure to cultivate mushrooms thus generating income to sustain their families. Some harvested mushrooms are sold to hotels. To give added value, IR is teaching the women how to make curries, chips and puddings with the mushrooms, thus helping them increase and diversify their incomes.

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The IRAUS team also had the opportunity to meet one of the thousands of orphans being sponsored by IR who is being supported by an Australian donor. With this sponsorship, the girl who was born without her left hand, is now able to attend primary school and is among the top students in her class.

The Team also visited the Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparation Secretariat located in a Hindu Temple, an IR initiative using local committees based in places of worship to prevent and prepare for natural disasters such as cyclones and other disasters common to the region. Working alongside local government disaster management agencies, they are equipped with the skills to prepare themselves for the disasters and they learn how to reduce the impact of these disasters,

The team from Australia was led by Nora Amath, Secretary of the Board of Trustees, Susan Almaani IRAUS’s Queensland representative, Fadlullah Wilmot, Head of Institutional Relations and Funding, Souha Alameddine and two of the top fundraiser volunteers, Tarek Taleb and Sarah Jubran who raised the funds for this project.

Want to make a positive contribution to the world? Visit Islamic Relief’s website,               www.islamic-relief.com.au, to donate now.