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By : Hanifah Muyassarah 

Cilacap is one of the sending area of Indonesian Migrant Workers, but sometimes are also coloured with various problems. Loosing contacts with the family, violence (physical, psychological, and sexual violence),  and even trafficking in human are the problems that are often faced the migrant workers, including the migrant workers who come from Cilacap. The such situation finally encouraged the foundation of Balai Perempuan Annisa (BP Annisa) on 28 October 2002  in Kesugihan Cilacap. At the time,  BP Annisa became one of the institutions that supported the formation of Koalisi  Perempuan Indonesia (Indonesian Women Coalition) or KPI of the Cilacap Branch. 

Hanifah Muyassarah as the initiator of the foundation of BP Annisa  is a woman ulema who had been cooperating with Rahima since 2000. Rahima is an institution that supports BP Annisa in giving alternative discourses related to the interpretations of the religious texts that do not discriminate against women.  The meeting venue of BP Annisa since the beginning up to now, is around the complex of Al Ihya Ulumaddin Boarding School, Kesugihan Cilacap that consists of 157 members. The membership is not merely from Islamic boarding school (pesantren), but precisely reached out to the people from outside the pesantren, such as merchants in the traditional market, the family of migrant workers, the fried food sellers, the snacks sellers, the home industry laborers, and etc. 

At the beginning, BP Annisa only responded to the reports from the migrant workers’ families who  can’t contact their children who work overseas for several years. But then, several reports came such as unpaid salaries, verbal violence, and etc. Then BP Annisa followed up the reported cases that were experienced by the migrant workers and invited the stakeholders who had similar vision to discuss the steps that should be undertaken. BP Annisa also built networks with several organizations who are concerned on migrant workers issues and also the migrant workers who work in the destination countries overseas to have a clear description of the situations. 

During the migrant workers cases resolutions assistance that had been done by BP Annisa, the cases related to various violence also come from the society. The reports show the various violence cases, such as sexual violence, domestic violence, and other forms of violence. Sadly, some of the perpetrators of violence were religious figures and the victims of violence were reluctant to report them to the authorities because of fear and their minimum understanding of the reporting process in the realm of law. Even though, BP Annisa is committed to become safe space for women and as the place to report the case of violence against women and children. In optimizing the case’s resolution assistance, BP Annisa built  networks with  many stakeholders,  both government institutions such as the social services,  department of women’s empowerment and child protection, Citra (Cilacap Tanpa Kekerasan), migrant workers  organizations, and etc. 


Becoming the Learning Space 

In addition to receiving reports of violence cases, BP Annisa also became a learning space and experience sharing place for its members. BP Annisa often make studies related to violence against women and children issues. For example, domestic violence, child marriage, women with disabilities, elderly people, and etc. In addition to that, BP Annisa also discussed the religious subjects to improve the social solidarity among women (sisterhood) from the marginalized groups. 

In order to improve knowledge and raise awareness related to current issues, the members of BP Annisa also created a sharing space related to politics. Some of the issues they discussed were deliberation of the village development plan (Musrembangdes), general election, and also social analysis. As a result, members of BP Annisa were active in formulating and committing to the proposed activities that will be continued to be delivered in Musrembang.  In progress, BP Annisa had cooperated with KPU Kabupaten Cilacap in 2019 to hold voter education and to strengthen the citizen’s political rights.

During the pandemic COVID-19 situation, BP Annisa remains productive by doing some efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease and also struggle for economic empowerment. BP Annisa created the food security movement by growing vegetables around the house and strengthening the solidarity among its members through shopping the daily necessities for one another. 


Strengthening the Economy Based on Women Community 

Doesn’t just stop at assistance in solving the violence against women cases and political education for women, BP Annisa is also keeping struggle to respond the complexity of women problem, which one of them through economic empowerment. Then BP Annisa created Kelompok Usaha Bersama or Joint Business Groups namely KUBE Annisa in 2015. Initially, KUBE Annisa produced the pastries which are marketed in facing the Lebaran Day (Idul Fitri). The production capital came from the case loan from Balai which uses the savings and loan scheme.

After running for around three years, KUBE Annisa had been capable of producing the pastries everyday in the various products. Then in 2020,  the name KUBE Annisa changed into Kelompok Wirausaha Annisa Kesugihan (Annisa Entrepreneur Group of Kesugihan) as stated in the Village Head Decree of Kesugihan Kidul Number 39 year 2020. This entrepreneur group also received aid from the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration) Bina Penta for the efforts on Creating New Entrepreneurs in Handling the Impact of COVID-19 in Cilacap District.

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