In this first of our ‘Community Interview’ series Seeding the Future Together, you can find out more about the work and context of Sekolah Pagesangan in Wintaos village, Girimulyo, Panggang subdistrict, Gunungkidul. Sekolah Pagesangan (School of Life) uses “contextual education” as a method to connect children with the deep local knowledge and farming practices of their community in the rural village of Wintaos. According to mbak Diah: “the word “Empowerment forms the foundation of our work and processes”.
Working from the needs and context of the local community, Sekolah Pagesangan develops a platform for sharing skills and knowledge between generations, preserving local food systems and developing alternative community economies with the community of Wintaos village. Together they also think through strategies to face the issues of development and global food and economic systems that affect the viability of life in the village. Speaking of these larger struggles for sovereignty over their land and livelihood, mbak Diah says, “I know from the start I will not win. But someone has to do it. The fight must go on!”
For a summary of our trip to Sekolah Pagesangan to meet the community and make this film, see below:
On Saturday 12 June 2021, we visited Sekolah Pagesangan on the first of six research trips that are part of ‘The World is Our Household!’. Sekolah Pagesangan (“School of Life”, Gunungkidul, Indonesia) was founded in 2008 by Dian Widuretno in Wintaos, a rural village in the greater Yogyakarta Region. Their goal is to empower and strengthen the position of villages in the area of Gunungkidul, particularly through supporting local food systems by means of “contextual education”; a participatory educational model that aims to connect children and teenagers (and their parents) with ecological knowledge and practices in their immediate environment. Together they work to understand the problems that exist in the village such as depopulation, explore the village’s potential, and revitalise their local food system.
Together with two of our ‘Artist Partners’; Timbil Budiarto (Lifepatch – citizen initiative for art, science and technology) and Maryanto, we joined one of their Saturday morning classes in which elders share their deep local knowledge with the children. The session was led by Mbok Pur who talked about the 15 varieties of cassava and how, as well as eating the root, the leaves can also be eaten or used for animal feed, and the sap can be used as a natural medicine. Below, we’re sharing some photos of our trip. To learn more about the work, context and community of Sekolah Pagesangan, stay tuned for a video interview with founder Diah Widuretno and other members of their community, that will be posted here very soon!