A restaurant that serves more than delicious fare……

 

Many who visit the Gili Islands are familiar with Pituq Waroeng– a rustic and interesting restaurant on Gili Trawangan that serves up colourful Indonesian-inspired vegan dishes alongside great service. But Pituq Waroeng is not all that it seems. Behind the scenes, Jaana, pioneer of the Pituq Community Foundation (Yayasan Pituq Komunitas), is championing extensive charity work. She spoke to us about celebrating the first anniversary of this Lombok based non-profit organisation…

 

Her restaurant not only serves healthy vegan food, it has also become a meeting point for people to learn more about the Foundation. Good Samaritans donate clothes and cash and Pituq ensures that they are directly passed onto the less fortunate. Clothes and donated items are sold in the Pituq Charity shop which is located within the restaurant. Despite being involved in charity work for over a decade around Lombok, Finland-born Jaana and her locally-born husband, Rahmat, officially set up the foundation in April 2018. The timing was fortuitous as they were instrumental in helping thousands of victims in the aftermath of the earthquakes, by providing immediate emergency aid and emotional support.

 

‘We distributed water, food, hygiene products and other supplies to thousands of people across 350 villages. A week after the earthquakes, we commenced trauma healing with the children’, Jaana exudes. This philosophy is really what powers Pituq as a Waroeng and as a Community, ‘It’s easy, the things we can do in the villages, for the children and the families’, she added.

 

So, what happens now that the media attention has shifted? ‘News comes and goes, but the effects are still very visible here’, Jaana says. So many people were involved with fundraising and helping with immediate relief, but the communities still need rebuilding and there are new projects that need funding, from providing clean, safe water to building toilets and showers in more remote communities. ‘There are so many layers of events that occurred after the earthquakes. Not just the loss of life, homes and properties were damaged and broken, but people who lost their businesses, went bankrupt. Life is still not back to normal’, and it will take time until people are back on their feet, but spirits are high, and the Lombok people are resilient’. she goes on, eager to raise awareness of the continued support that is needed.

 

‘The best way we can help out is to fundraise,’ Jaana suggests. ‘Tourism helps too! When the Gili Islands prosper, so does Lombok’.  Her outlook on the future is optimistic, ‘We believe that after all the repercussions of the devastation and damage, there are now new and improved services available and I believe Lombok will be even stronger in the future!”