A book that Immortalizes the Liberation of the Dayak People from The Vicious Cycle of Poverty

The success story of CU Lantang Tipo is the success story of the Dayak people and the Catholic Church. It has become an institution of both material and spiritual liberation. Simultaneously, it has elevated the status of the Dayak people to an international level, turning a once-overlooked ethnic group into a global focus of attention.

There is a proverb in the “language of angels,” Latin, that is truly profound and enduring: “Verba volant, scripta manent.” What is spoken passes, but what is written remains eternal. The publication of this book is evidence that the Dayak people are already literate and have long recognized that “historia docet,” history is the best teacher.

And the history of liberation is both physical and spiritual, especially from the shackles of structural poverty among the Dayak people in the Parindu District of West Kalimantan, starting with a humble plant called: tipo.

The plant tipo symbolizes the distinctive characteristics of the Dayak people. This is the philosophy of the tipo plant, which is why it was chosen as the name for CU. And thus it happened: Fiat voluntas tua. The tipo plant embodies the resilience and vitality found in the Dayak culture, reflecting the spirit of “Fiat voluntas tua,” meaning “Thy will be done,” as a testament to their enduring nature.

It was never previously imagined that a corner of the sacristy room in the Central Peace Parish Church would mark the beginning of liberation for the Catholic community in the Central Peace Parish, Sanggau Regency, during the 1970s.

From that sacristy space, a cooperative was formed by Catholic teachers in Central Peace, which slowly, based on the principle of “I help you, you help me,” evolved into CU Lantang Tipo. Today, CU Lantang Tipo thrives as a non-bank grassroots economic force in Indonesia, rooted in a community where trust is paramount. This embodies the essence of “credit,” derived from the Latin word “credo,” which means “I believe.”

Almost paradoxical, yet that is the reality. It serves as evidence that trust is paramount in cooperatives, and the majority of CU Lantang Tipo’s members being Dayak people, demonstrate that trust and mutual assistance, which are often just topics of discussion at the national and international levels, are indeed put into practice.

The Success Story of Lantang Tipo Credit Union (CU), which originally had its roots within the church sacristy, has now become a significant milestone in empowering the Dayak people in Parindu District, Sanggau Regency, the majority of whom are Catholics.

It was never imagined that a sacred place within the Catholic Church, known as the sacristy, would be the starting point of a journey of liberation for the Dayak people in Parindu.

The sacristy, which in the past could only be accessed by priests and altar servers, has transformed into a place where remarkable seeds of change were sown. This transformation occurred after the Vatican II Council in 1965, which opened the door to a new understanding of the role of laypeople in the Church. Laypeople were no longer mere complements; they were the core of the Church.

In one of the cramped rooms of the old church sacristy in the Central Peace Parish, the concept of a “cooperative store” began, laying the foundation for the Pre-CU and Lantang Tipo CU. A pastor, Ewald Beck, with great awareness, handed over this sacred space to the laity. That was the starting point of an extraordinary change.

In the 1970s, the Central Peace Parish and its surrounding areas experienced a severe period of hardship. Many people, including the teachers working there, faced shortages of clothing, food, and money. This situation triggered unexpected change.

In 1975, a group of people from Jakarta arrived like messenger angels, bringing a breath of fresh air. They were a Credit Union team facilitated by the Social Delegation of the Archdiocese of Pontianak. They introduced the concept of a Credit Union to the Central Peace Parish.

The teachers and staff who had once been in despair found new hope. They formed the Pre-CU with the initial capital accumulated from the savings of teachers who began to save. Initially, some of them might have felt compelled, but their spirits were ablaze.

The Pre-CU laid the foundation for the growth of Lantang Tipo CU. The cooperative store, which was initially struggling, slowly began to flourish. Loans from members became a source of capital for operations and business growth. This tipo plant grew like shoots sprouting upwards.

The history of liberation is both physical and spiritual, especially from the shackles of structural poverty among the Dayak people in the Parindu District of West Kalimantan, starting with a humble plant called: tipo.

Today, Lantang Tipo CU has achieved a turnover of more than 3 trillion Indonesian Rupiahs. Its membership has reached hundreds of thousands of people. It is not merely a financial institution but a liberation institution, both materially and spiritually, for the Dayak people in Parindu. The majority Catholic Sanggau Regency now reaps the benefits of Lantang Tipo CU.

How Tipo has become a symbol

Lantang Tipo CU has become a symbol of struggle and liberation for the Dayak community in Parindu. It is a tangible example of how the role of laypeople in the Church can bring about significant positive change in society. From the sacristy to great success, Lantang Tipo CU is an inspiring story of how hope and change can emerge from the most unexpected places.

The literal meaning of “lantang tipo” is the name of a plant, similar to galangal, that commonly grows in the forest. The Dayak people often use tipo as a vegetable or a seasoning for their dishes. It has a pleasant and aromatic scent and tastes delicious. Its fruit is unique, with a bright red color, oval and clustered, about the size of a knee, protruding above the ground surface, somewhat separated from its cluster. When ripe, it is sweet with white flesh and small black seeds, similar to passion fruit.

What’s truly unique about this plant is its high vitality and ability to grow in clusters. Even when stepped on, the plant continues to survive and grow. Its spirit for life is very strong. In places where tipo grows abundantly, it protrudes above the ground surface, somewhat separated from its cluster.

When ripe, it is sweet with white flesh and small black seeds, similar to passion fruit. What’s truly unique about this plant is its high vitality and ability to grow in clusters. Even when stepped on, the plant continues to survive and grow. Its spirit for life is very high. In places where tipo grows abundantly.*)

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