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Jowarno’s story

Habitat for Humanity staff member, Dan recently travelled to Yogyakarta to meet some of the families we will be working with. Here, he met Jowarno.

Jowarno is a very special 80 year old man who lives just outside of Yogyakarta in Indonesia. His spirit and zest for life doesn’t reflect his living conditions or how little he has.

I met Jowarno outside the home he inherited from his father 70 long years ago. The roof is old, there are large cracks in the walls, and some of the wooden beams have rotted away completely making the structure itself unsafe.

While his son, daughter in law and two grandchildren sleep together in the one small room, he opts to sleep on a wooden bed in the corner of the living area. It is dark, cold and smells musty. Definitely not the idea of comfort we have here in Australia.

jowarno old home

Yet despite this, he shrugs his shoulders and says he’s ‘used to it.’ 70 years will do that to you.

Speaking to him about his life is a little strange as he describes the challenges the family has endured, but always through a huge, toothy smile. He and his son are farmers but can’t afford to make vital repairs to the home.


Despite his old age he is a picture of health. For ‘sport’ he sweeps the road at the front of the home each morning to keep healthy. I should have known as not one leaf was on the road, despite giant trees overhanging the whole village, Selopamioro.

The smile gets bigger as he talks about the opportunity he’s been given to receive a new Habitat home later this year.

“If not help (from volunteers) there would be no chance for my family. Thank you if somebody will come. With a new home anything is possible. Thank you for the possibility.”

I’ll remember Jowarno as being selfless above all else. He was excited most for his grandchildren who will have their own bedrooms and who would inherit the home when he passes.
With one final act of kindness he gave me a coconut to drink from and waved as we drove off down the cleanest road in Indonesia.

– Dan Peyton

When you volunteer with Habitat, you will be building homes for families like Jowarno’s. Sign up today and give them a hope for their future.

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