Partnering with Yayasan Usaha Mulia (YUM) – Foundation for Noble Work – One of Indonesia’s Most Outstanding Charities

Irwan Wyllie – CEO, Dharma Care

My first contact with YUM was around 1983. It was my first visit to Indonesia. I was intoxicated by the place – its mass of friendly people, the exotic food, the tropical vegetation – despite the heat, humidity and confronting poverty.

Image of Jakarta street


I was in Jakarta for a conference.  It happened to be Ramadan and the call to prayer drifting through Jakarta’s suburbs added to the impact of the experience.  Growing up in middle class Brisbane, the reality of life for most of the world’s population really hit home – not for the first time, but more powerfully than ever before.  Although I had travelled widely in Europe, this was my first encounter with Asia.  And yet, I felt strangely at home amidst the press of my fellow human beings even while enduring the incessant beeping of car horns, the hair-raising manoeuvring of tuk-tuk drivers through the maelstrom of Jakarta’s streets, and the sweat trickling down my back.


After the conference finished, I was invited to visit an orphanage at Cipanas, south of Jakarta. It had been established by YUM, an organisation I had never heard of but with whom I would eventually have a long association.  Driving through the lush green countryside to Cipanas was another delight.  Whilst Jakarta was full of movement and noise, in those fields, everything moved slowly, silently – people and beasts alike humbled by the incessant heat.


The orphanage was a very small and simple operation, but the staff and children were full of hope.  At that time, YUM was asking for old computers to help in the children’s education.  I went home and did what I could to help.

Translated, the acronym YUM stands for Foundation for Noble Work.  It certainly is that.

In the late 1960s, three foreigners began providing assistance to vulnerable communities in Jakarta. They initially established a mobile medical clinic and later a small hospital that serviced the poorest Jakarta residents.

Later a group of successful businesspeople joined the team.  They believed they had a responsibility to give back to the communities that had helped them achieve success They wanted to use their resources to make a positive impact on the lives of people in need.

YUM became a legal foundation in 1976.  It had, therefore, only been operating for a few years when I visited that small outpost of hope in Cipanas in 1983.

YUM is dedicated to promoting education, healthcare, and community development to the destitute in some of the most under serviced areas of the country. Millions of families continue to live below the poverty line, surviving on less than two dollars a day.

Over the years, YUM has become one of the most respected and well-known charitable foundations in Indonesia. It has had a significant impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people – sometimes up to 50,000 people per year.

In 2009, YUM reviewed the direction of the Children’s Village, the orphanage I visited in Cipanas twenty years earlier.  It made the strategic decision to transform the Village into a Community Development Centre that would benefit the wider Cipanas community and hopefully reduce the number of orphaned children.  The Centre still works with children today. Their smiles are as big as those I remember from 1983.

In 2013, the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs formally recognized the Cipanas Village as a pioneer in the implementation of the National Standard of Child Care and in its transformation from being a childcare based institution (orphanage) into a family-based centre. It has since served as a model for other orphanages as well as becoming a reference for comparative studies undertaken by other institutions and universities.

The smiling school children at YUM’s Community Centre at Cipanas.
The smiling school children at YUM’s Community Centre at Cipanas. 

It is from this base in Cipanas that many of YUM’s projects are now implemented, including some on which Dharma Care has collaborated – projects like the Rural Health Program, the recent Earthquake Appeal, and the Child Stunting Prevention Program.

We are therefore very proud to have YUM as a partner in the wonderful work that is being done in Indonesia to help those in need.

This year we will again partner with YUM by raising $12,000 to support the Child Stunting Prevention Program – this year working from YUM’s offices in Kalimantan. After the enormous success of the first year’s program in Java (98.7% reduction in the number of stunted children), we are delighted to be able to work with YUM and our donors again to connect people who care with people in need.

YUM headquarters in Kalimantan – office library and training centre
YUM headquarters in Kalimantan – office library and training centre

The results of the Stunting Prevention Program are powerful and life changing:

I cannot express in words how grateful my husband and I are for the support that we have received since the beginning of my pregnancy. Both my baby and I are healthy and well. The kader, midwife and the YUM staff at the Posyandu have shared a lot of useful information about the mother and the baby’s health pre- and post-delivery, especially about stunting and its prevention.   

Ibu F, 28 years old, pregnant mother from West Java
Ibu F, 28 years old, pregnant mother from West Java

If you would like to be part of this story – to change a child’s life forever, to make the change you want to see in the world – you can make a tax-deductible donation to the Child Stunting Prevention Program via our website at: 

And if you’d like to know more about YUM, the following is an excellent (11-minute) video covering its many activities: