The Meet a Need 2022 programme, organised in collaboration with World Vision Singapore, saw Jebsen & Jessen volunteers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines venturing on a week-long trip to an abaca farm in October 2022.
The Group’s flagship CSR programme combines corporate volunteering with funding for projects that meet specific needs. While biannual Meet a Need trips typically focus on either social or environmental needs and issues, this trip uniquely combined both by empowering North Cotabato’s indigenous abaca farming community.
Abaca, a direct substitute for wood pulp, is a sustainable raw material for paper products. It requires less land to grow and improves the soil’s water-holding capacity. In North Cotabato, abaca farming is a dominant livelihood for the local community.
Creating a Sustainable Future Together
Our Group contributed directly to building an abaca nursery to nurture healthy seedlings. During their trip, our volunteers planted 100 abaca seedlings, harvested fibres, made organic fertiliser and constructed a hand-washing facility in an elementary school within the project area. The hand-washing facility gave the school children a designated space to wash their hands with clean water, helping them maintain good hygiene and prevent the spreading of diseases.
With guidance from the locals, our volunteers learned to produce abaca by-products like coasters, hats, slippers, placemats, and other practical items. Our volunteers realised that abaca is a promising commodity, and the North Cotabato farmers require support to continue farming sustainably.
“The villagers were extremely thankful for our contributions. I hope other staff members of Jebsen & Jessen Group will also experience what we did because, together, we can bring about change for those in need,” shared Owen Ali, Operations Director from PT Indo Tirta Abadi (ITA), a member of the Jebsen & Jessen Group in Indonesia.
During the trip, our volunteers were treated to an indigenous performance and celebratory dinner. In turn, they too donned their national costumes and performed, transforming the night into a jovial exchange of cultures through song and dance!
Thank you to all Meet a Need volunteers and supporters, and special thanks to JJ-LAPP’s Yohana Sihombing, who doubled up as the trip’s photographer and videographer.