The manifestations of structural poverty are clearly illustrated in nearly every story told; the hardship in meeting life’s daily necessities, dropping out of school, diseases, limited access, information illiteracy, and the ebbs and flows of life to survive, and lift themselves out of poverty, all of which unfolding in their life journey that seems to be a never ending story. In some of the written accounts, women become the saviors when the family falls into financial hardship for different reasons, such as the death of the father or the husband abandoning the family without any word, leaving them in poverty and having to deal with other social issues. Women do whatever they can to put food on the table and ensure the family’s survival; doing odd jobs, manual labor, and even migrating to foreign countries such as Malaysia to work, which may put their lives at risk. The severe anguish and trauma of being subjected to domestic violence, such as the murder of family member (husband and father), is also experienced by PEKKA women in the region.
Customary systems and rituals form an inseparable part of the lives of the local people, becoming a “hidden power” that dictates how women should lead their lives. Some of the stories told by these women brought attention to the many forms of customary systems and rituals that directly and indirectly contribute to the dynamics of life and the problems that they face to this day. The collective strength of PEKKA women in NTT (East Nusa Tenggara) is indeed inspirational. Early on when PEKKA was established, they were taught on how to build dreams and ambitions, aiming as high as possible. One of the mutual dreams that they mentioned at the time was to have a “shared home” or what they call as PEKKA Centre. For a group of people virtually without any resources, a wish like this seems unreachable. But not for the PEKKA women of this region who proved “the hidden power of dreams”.
PEKKA community organizing work in Adonara Island is part of the process of organizing women household heads in NTT, where our focus is on East Flores. When PEKKA began organizing the women on the Island, no other programs have reached these women directly. PEKKA’s arrival was welcomed enthusiastically and highly appreciated. This sense of excitement and eagerness has never waned, becoming ever more fervent even after more than 10 ten years of PEKKA’s existence.