• Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Tembi Housing Assistance Project

Helping to reconstruct houses—and people’s lives!


In funding and coordinating housing reconstruction in Tembi village, Quake Fund has provided crucial assistance to several disadvantaged families and individuals whose homes were devastated in the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake. With a dedication to providing housing which is both safe, secure and culturally appropriate, Quake Fund has helped to reconstruct not only houses, but also people’s lives.


The sub-village of Tembi is located in Timbulhardjo village, in the Bantul District of the Province of Jogyakarta. On the 27th of May 2006 an earthquake shook Jogyakarta, devastating over 8,000 villages and resulting in the loss of almost 6,000 lives. The epicentre of the earthquake was in Bantul. Along with countless public buildings and businesses, 300,000 houses were destroyed. In the sub-village of Tembi, 80% of houses were damaged, of which 50% were totally destroyed.

While many houses were reconstructed through large funding efforts orchestrated by the Indonesian government and large international organizations, a number of Tembi residents missed out. For various reasons, several families and individuals were not eligible under project specifications. For example, most projects specified only enough funding for one house per certified land holding plot, whereas prior to the earthquake there were often several small houses on one plot of land. Further, the available funds were only enough to accommodate one family while in reality some of the damaged houses had previously accommodated up to three families.

As a result, the distribution of housing reconstruction aid in the Tembi village was highly uneven ― while some families enjoyed the privilege of a new home, others remained in makeshift bamboo shelters for months. Aside from the hardship faced by those families who missed out, this situation was highly inequitable and created difficulties within community life.

Quake Fund stepped in to provide a helping hand to those families who had been left behind in the mainstream reconstruction process. It put a priority on constructing houses which were safe, secure and appropriate in the eyes of the recipient.

Quakefund’s Assistance

The Tembi Housing Assistance Project was a highly participatory program which involved local community members in training and construction. The project included training in earthquake resistance re-construction for participating community members. It achieved the complete reconstruction of five basic brick houses. It also provided assistance and partial funding to help two other families finish their incomplete homes.

Alongside the concern of building houses which were both culturally appropriate and affordable, Quake Fund has placed a large emphasis on encouraging sustainability and community development throughout the reconstruction process. For instance, bamboo roof frames were sourced from Sahabat Bambu, a locally based NGO initiated company specialising in promoting the sustainable use of bamboo. Working together with Sahabat Bambu, Quake Fund coordinated training on durable and earthquake resistant bamboo construction. This meant that the process of rebuilding was also a process of learning and engaging with new ideas and community initiatives.

Here are just a few of the success stories from the Housing Assistance Project:

Mbah Sabariyem

Prior to the earthquake, Mbah Sabariyem (Grandma Sabariyem) lived in a house that accommodated four families. To make a living Mbah Sabariyem took in laundry from other families, allowing her to make a modest contribution to household expenses. However after 6 years of laundry work, Mbah Sabariyem’s mother fell sick so she stopped her work to nurse her elderly mother full time. After 7 months Mbah Sabariyem’s mother passed away and soon afterwards the earthquake struck. When the shared household where Mbah Sabariyem had lived was destroyed the 52 year old found herself homeless. The aid provided to the household was only sufficient to fund the construction of a small house for the one family that owned the original premises. While the other two families received alternative assistance, because Mbah Sabariyem was without children she did not meet funding criteria. Mbah Sabariyem instead remained living in a cramped bamboo shack, which was constructed as a makeshift shelter shortly after the disaster struck. As the monsoon season approached Mbah Sabariyem’s bamboo shelter proved increasingly inadequate. But without little income and without immediate family, Mbah Sabariyem had limited means with which to improve her situation.

Quake Fund identified Mbah Sabariyem’s difficult situation and agreed to provide her with a one-bedroom brick house. Construction of the house was completed by local labourers and carpenters over a period of several months. Mbah Sabariyem’s new house is simple, but it is safe, secure and a place to call her own. Mbah Sabariyem, who now works cooking noodles at her aunt’s food stall, is very happy to have received assistance from Quakefund to build her new house.

The Darusin Family

Before the earthquake struck Pak Darusin and his wife Asih lived with family in Selarong with their young child Nirmala. Pak Darusin had occasional work as a labourer on construction projects, but had little secure income. When the earthquake struck, the family home in Selarong was destroyed. Darusin was also left jobless for some months after the earthquake. The family moved into a vacant block owned by Asih’s parent’s in Tembi. However as the family were not formerly residents of Tembi they were not eligible for housing assistance. Instead they lived in a very small bamboo hut.

In late 2007 Quake Fund built a two bedroom house for the family. The house is basic but Darusin’s family is very grateful for the assistance. Darusin and Asih now have three children and in their spare time sort and clean pastic waste for a recycling factory in Tembi. Darusin has also recently found employment for a furniture company close to Tembi and hopes the new work will provide a more secure living for the family.

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