The Jakarta Post
Jakartans have welcomed new community centers (RPTRA) with enthusiasm, with residents of all ages saying that they use the centers for a variety of activities.
On the afternoon a reporter from The Jakarta Post visited an RPTRA in Gandaria Selatan, South Jakarta, children were playing futsal, while some older boys belonging to a hadrah (Islamic music) group played the rebana (traditional tambourine) on the building's second floor.
Fariz Setiaji, a 21-year-old hadrah teacher, asked the boys, aged from seven to 12 years old, to quieten down and pray before starting their practice.
'We used to practice in the mosque, but we now regularly use this music room,' he said, pointing out the air-conditioned room.
Fariz said he and the group were happy that they eventually had their own room to practice in. 'People often scolded us when we practiced too loud, especially if there were sick people nearby,' he said.
Fariz said playing hadrah was a tradition for boys in his kampung. 'I am now training 15 boys,' he said, adding that they usually performed at wedding ceremonies or other Islamic celebrations.
He said, that they had requested the music room when the RPTRA committee had asked what the residents needed the most.
Besides providing a practice room for hadrah, the 1,000-square-meter RPTRA in Gandaria Selatan also accommodates other activities like math and English study groups, traditional dance practice, health care (Posyandu) programs and long-term Family Welfare Movement (PKK) programs.
RPTRA, short for child-friendly integrated public space, was initiated by PKK chairwoman Veronica Tan, wife of Jakarta Governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama.
Rosalina, a RPTRA caretaker, said that the residents gathered to discuss their needs before the community center was built. 'Therefore, the facilities we have, like libraries, music room, futsal and badminton fields as well as the multi-purpose plaza are to support their activities,' she said, while showing the weekly schedule of various activities.
'The place will even be used for a wedding party in November,' she said.
Apart from Gandaria Selatan, there are five other pilot-stage RPTRA facilities, all funded by city-owned developer Pembangunan Jaya through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.
RPTRA in three places ' Cideng in Central Jakarta, Kembangan Utara in West Jakarta and Sungai Bambu in North Jakarta ' have already opened, while centers in Cililitan in East Jakarta and Untung Jawa island are under construction.
Kenanga Park, Cideng's RPTRA, was quiet on a weekday afternoon with a small number of adolescents in the park's mini soccer field.
A few meters away, a young woman in white babysitter uniform tried to keep up with a toddler running around the 1,653-square-meter park.
'Since the park opened a few months ago, I always bring her here during her feeding time,' Sri Ramdhani said.
The park is equipped with various facilities such as a jogging track, breast-feeding room, library and early child education (PAUD) area.
Thalia Sojo, head of park management, said the park was a favorite hang out place for people of all ages.
Thalia said the locals used the center for medical checkups for senior residents, and women use it for weekly physical exercise.
'The park is becoming more like a community development space where people can spend time doing their various activities and children can still play around,' she continued.
Eka Permanasari, an urban designer who was responsible for the social mapping of the RPTRA project, said that she and her partners, including sociologist Imam Prasodjo, spent two to three months talking with residents about what they needed. 'We discussed [with them] and tried to accommodate their needs,' she said, adding that they had also tried to find a resolution if there were different opinions among residents.
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