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It was extremely rewarding to be recognised by an institution that is clearly as passionate as us when it comes to service. Meeting the children from Bantar Gebang was one of the most worthwhile experiences we’ve ever had.

For our 2022 CAS Project Challenge, we were once again blown away by the creativity and tenacity exhibited in the submission we received. Picking the top spot is always tricky, but a thorough analysis from a panel of expert judges determined that Cases4Care deserved the honor. 

The ingenuity and resilience demonstrated by the team’s four members, Chiara, Harsheen, Stella, and Raina, over the course of their CAS Project have already had a tremendous impact. In their home country of Indonesia, they are providing the tools necessary to give underprivileged children access to education and a brighter future. 

We are thrilled to support them in their ongoing efforts to enact real change and look forward to welcoming them as guests at the next Global Student Conference in Singapore!

The team and their project

Cases4Care is a team of four young women, Chiara Zhang, Harsheen Punjabi, Stella Eddy, she/her, and Rania Kusumadinata, from The British School Jakarta. Together, they have initiated a project to advocate for UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education for All. So far, they have raised funds to build and furnish five multipurpose libraries in Southeast Asia’s largest trash site, Bantar Gebang, where over 7,000 families and 1000 children live in dire conditions. 

In their mission to offer an ongoing environment of education and the necessary tools to give the children in this community a better life, they have secured several notable sponsors to continue expanding their project. During every visit to Bantar Gebang, Cases4Care runs a food drive, distributing healthy snacks and drinks to the children at the libraries. The libraries are now the primary catalyst of education for children and teachers have been hired to run lessons in the libraries, open to all children in Bantar Gebang. 

Cases4Care has also recently announced their collaboration with MIT University’s Compassionate Systems Learning Team. They are currently working to spread their teachings amongst the Indonesian communities, focusing on topics of mental health awareness with the Bantar Gebang children. 

We talked to the team about how they achieved this success and what is next for this inspiring group of young innovators. 

Cases4Care in their own words:

A huge congratulations to you all! This must have been quite the journey. What does winning The CAS Project Challenge mean for you?

Rania Kusumadinata: Since the beginning of Cases4Care, we have had big dreams to support SDG 4: Quality Education in Bantar Gebang. We will always be grateful for the recognition from professionals in this sector and this organization for our efforts to further empower and develop underprivileged communities, make a difference, and collaborate for the greater good. Consequently, we are excited to encourage people and groups worldwide to grow and become the change-makers the world needs today.

What were the most significant obstacles your team faced along the way?

Chiara Zhang: To realize our goals with Cases4Care, we needed to access an extremely closed-off location considered taboo among many Indonesian households. Coordinating with the locals of the landfill site to set up our multipurpose libraries was very difficult. Moreover, the locals at the landfill site were skeptical of the media attention Cases4Care could be bringing. 

Having to overcome this communication gap was the most significant initial obstacle. That is why, although Cases4Care started its fundraising and operations in 2017, it took some time, effort, and donations to finally build our libraries at Bantar Gebang. 

From meeting this obstacle, we learnt that some things are worth fighting for. Without having learnt the power of perseverance, the children of Bantar Gebang would not have been able to access such a vital human right: Education. Cases4Care is glad we continued on. 

How will you apply the lessons you learned from this experience in the future? 

Harsheen Punjabi: We have had to adapt our approach several times since starting this project in 2018. We kept running into struggles, so after a few months of silence on the project, we listed all the problems on a google sheet. This allowed us to find the root issues and tackle them effectively. This is a crucial skill as we will face many problems in the future, whether it has something to do with our jobs, home life or family, and we will need to be able to identify the issue to find a solution. 

The second lesson we learnt was practical communication skills. We had to liaise with many big brand companies such as Ace Hardware, Informa, TipTop, and more, convincingly structuring our proposals. We learnt how to speak with decency, a firm tone, and convincing words. 

What are you most looking forward to about attending the Global Student Conference in Singapore?

Stella Eddy: We are truly grateful that we can take advantage of this opportunity and learn more about a particular global issue through collaborative activities, in-person conferences and, of course, practical exercises. 

This will be my first time actively participating in a conference, and I already find myself becoming very engaged with this year’s topic: The future of food. I look forward to discussing complex issues such as poverty and the environmental impacts of food waste. We all understand how there are still many people in the modern world who scarcely have access to good nutrition. Food is a significant component of our survival; therefore, we understand why one of the SDG goals is to end world hunger. Overall, I hope that the conference can give us more inspiration on what we can do to help reduce world hunger. 

Once again, we would like to congratulate Chiara, Harsheen, Stella, and Raina on their tremendous work! They stood out amongst an exceptional group of participants, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for them.