Building Social Empathy through A Live-in Program in Ponggang Village

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Several students from Faculty of Engineering of Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia (AJCUI), together with students of National University of Singapore (NUS), participated in a community service program in Ponggang Village, Subang, from July 2 to 14, 2019.

Ponggang Village is a village often visited by Faculty of Engineering to implement students’ knowledge and works in building a village. This community service program was under the guidance of Enny Widawati, a lecturer of industrial engineering and the initiator of this program.

The community service program was first intended for lecturers of Faculty of Engineering. Then, students were started to be involved by giving them opportunity to live in the village for a week in villagers’ houses.

“In 2013, we made a tool for producing flour from banana and a tool for processing grain. Then we made a hydraulic ram to supply water for villagers. Before, they had to walk far down steep road to the water source. Now things get easier with the existence of the pump,” said Enny.

Moreover, students also participated in building facilities such as a bridge to provide access to fields, bathrooms, water reservoirs, and street lights. This community service program did not only build facilities for the village, but also helped foster the village economy. This program helped the production of ‘Opak Singkong Pongs’, a signature food of Ponggang Village. Villagers also produced ‘Mini Bites Rengginang’ and ‘Sambal Ema’.

“Here, we are building the village. But we also pay attention to their economic needs. We have started to produce various products to sell and the profits are used for building the village. Besides, we also taught them book keeping to manage money well,” said Enny.


The representative of Ponggang Village, Kang Iwa, warmly welcomed the good intention of Faculty of Engineering of AJCUI. The villagers felt this program was very helpful for them.


“Of course all of us here feel really grateful for all efforts done by friends from AJCUI. Villagers can really feel that it’s easier to get water, that we have decent bathrooms, and that we can get income from products made,” said Kang Iwa.  


Kang Iwa also said that through this program, students could understand the meaning of life between village and city people. “Besides building the village facilities, another important process is about life lesson for young people. Here, they are encouraged to communicate and interact with local people, to realize why they are here. And they are inspired to do something,” Kang Iwa explained.


This program is expected to bring a better life transformation for Ponggang villagers. Moreover, it is expected to give a life lesson for students of Faculty of Engineering of AJCUI. In the future, it is hoped that AJCUI can continue giving contribution to other villages in Indonesia.