The American Women’s Association (AWA) has long been a favourite organisation for American expatriates living in Jakarta. Over the years, the Indonesia-based AWA opened its arms to a wide variety of nationalities, and not just women, but anyone looking to engage in cultural activities and help social welfare programs whilst meeting others through a variety of social events.
However, AWA faced some setbacks and difficulties during the pandemic, seeing a lot of their community leave the country — and community is the backbone of AWA. Leading the association through its positive recovery is Henny Flint. Henny joined AWA in 2004 and spent much of her time volunteering in different roles offered over several years. As of 2009, she took on the presidency role as a volunteer until 2011. Today she is currently the President of AWA, the Head of Outreach for All Saints Anglican Church Jakarta, and a member of the Women’s International Club (WIC).
In her role as President, Henny has led several initiatives, networking events, charity luncheons, and community gatherings, all-in-all continuing to develop the great work the American Women’s Association is known for. NOW! Jakarta speaks to Henny to find out how the community is doing today and what is in store for them this year.
How has A.W.A grown to be a succeeding community for expatriates in the capital over the past couple of years?
Since the pandemic started in 2020, we went through so many challenges and we still haven’t recovered to our pre-pandemic level. However, we are blessed that we are still able to continue the AWA mission which supports the Indonesia social welfare through the local yayasans/organisation who are in need with the AWA capabilities in funds.
What do you think appeals most to AWA members and the community? Why do people join, and what makes them stay?
For sure, I can share the pre-pandemic time that people joined the AWA because of the community, friendship; sense of belonging among friends in foreign countries, and of course to be able to help and support Indonesian social welfare causes. Unfortunately, when the pandemic started in the first quarter of 2020, most of the AWA members left Indonesia and as I mentioned earlier, we continue to rebuild this strong community.
What opportunities do you see available for expatriates to spend time together for a better society?
In order for an expat to meet other people, develop friendships, and hopefully give back to the community while they are living in Indonesia, they should certainly consider joining an association like the AWA or another group of people that have similar interests as part of their social responsibility. Either donating their time, expertise, or money towards the cause allows them to help with critical social issues in Indonesia such as poverty, education, and healthcare while at the same time building friendships or in some cases even skill sets. Utilising their skills or expertise in a small way can have a massive impact on a less fortunate Indonesian life.
Could you elaborate to our readers regarding the social impacts that come from AWA in Indonesia?
Over the years AWA has supported many yayasans. Some of the causes that benefitted from AWA donations include: donations to orphanages, helping disabled children, supporting Racheal House that works with terminally ill children, funding scholarships that help low-income students further their education and we have also supported animal shelters as well.
How has the American Women’s Association been raising funds thus far? Are there any upcoming events we should know about?
Through events such as the Angle Tree Luncheon coming up on 19 September 2023. We have also done other types of events in the past such as bazaars, activities, coffee mornings, themed luncheon & dinners and sponsors’ donations.
The Angel Tree Luncheon is our only fundraising event for this year and we have already received so much interest from the community which makes us so happy to see the AWA is still able to support social welfare and keep the AWA tradition over the current challenges.
As the head of the association, what are you hoping to see more of / improve at the organisation, so members and the larger community can continue to positively benefit?
The AWA started in the 1960’s. I’m hoping that we are able to recover from the pandemic, and keep the AWA existence and consistency supporting our mission for a very long time to come. The organisation is also a place for people to meet others who are looking to build friendships while at the same time supporting the AWA mission.
Finally, do you have a favourite memory of past AWA events?
My favourite memory related to the AWA events is that everyone came together to support the events because we all had the same goal which was running a successful event. A successful event meant the AWA was able to help more yayasans/organisations who are in need. To be able to give back to the local community and share kindness to others is a win-win for everyone.
With AWA beginning to recover, there is a solid sense of group readiness and a positive outlook for the continuous growth of the organisation and its members/people. Make sure to mark 19 September 2023 in your calendar, as AWA presents their annual fundraiser, the Angel Tree Luncheon at The American Club.