The History of Raudlatul Makfufin FoundationThe Initial Founding
Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation was founded by Raden Halim Shaleh on 26th of November, 1983. The combination words ‘Raudlatul-Makfufin’ derive from Arabic which mean literally The Garden for the Blind. Thus, the existence of this foundation has been aimed to serve for fostering and empowering visually impaired or blind Muslim community.
Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation emphasizes its roles on teaching Islamic heritage. The priority scale set by the foundation is strongly related to Shaleh’s figure as an educator in a special school in Jakarta. He is overwhelmed with a profound sympathy with regard to social condition of the blind community that finds it difficult to access education, especially Islamic education. In addition, the education facilities either be personal or public is hardly available even though, as the matter of fact, the right to have a proper education access is essentially equal for all including those with blindness.
Based on such historical background, Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation has strived to actualize its struggles by proactively managing a kind of nomadic, house-to-house classes to spread the Islamic teaching program, especially how to recite al-Qur’an. Such an activity was also intended to increase the number of organizational members so that the educational practices served for the blind can be disseminated more widely. Among those who join the program are non-Jakartans in addition to the Jakarta citizens who were the majority. Initiating such special class managed for the blind community, Raden Halim Shaleh had hoped to minimize illiteracy from Indonesian blind Muslim community.
Moving to Ciputat
In 1991, H. Munawir Sjadzali M.A. who was the Indonesian minister of religious affairs gave a serious attention to what Raudlatul-Makfufin had been struggling. Such an attention was then manifested through lending a certain area of land that belonged to Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University located in Kertamukti Street Ciputat for Makfufin’s uses.
In the next year 1992, H. Munawir Sjadzali announced officially that Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation would be granted an empty land on which a building would be used for Makfufin’s activities. Furthermore, Sjadzali put his signature on an inscription stone dated on 28th of November, 1992 where all the foundation programs since then are centered in a specific location.
In accordance with the availability of the building as Centre, gradually the educational services managed by the foundation progressed. The religious gatherings which were managed to be a door to door activities occurring twice a week at most now turned into a more intensively held program. The classes were held every night with more subjects available, including Arabic, Islamic Jurisprudence, Hadith and etc. Those who participated and joined the classes come from college students with blindness sparing their time to gain broader Islamic knowledge.
In this building too, a braille publishing unit under Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation began to emerge. In 1997, Raudlatul-Makfufin initialized a program of computerizing the holy Qur’an in braille format. At that time, most of braille al-Qur’an publishers still utilized manual, hand-made works. The computerization program by Makfufin had succeeded in inputting 30 juz of the Qur’an into braille data computer. In 2000, Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation successfully launched the first braille Qur’an that was printed through computerized mechanism in As-Syafi’iyah Campus, Jakarta.
As time passed by, in 2009 the Government of Indonesia through the ministry of religious affair established a new policy that demanded relocation of Raudlatul-Makfufin’s Centre. The government policy required the whole national assets, including the building and its land to be returned to the government as the land would be used for constructing campus building of Jakarta Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN Jakarta). In finding a way out of such situation in terms of relocation, Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation, together with Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University came to an agreement where the office of university would take responsibility to give a new building for the Foundation.
Moving to Buaran
With the board university’s attempts to assist the relocation plan, alhamdulillah Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation received a 1.000 m2 of land as a donated property located in Kampung Jati, Buaran, Serpong, South Tangerang. Furthermore, the board university intensively managed a fund raising approach in order to building new Centre for Raudlatul-Makfufuin Foundation on the donated land.
With the grace of Allah, the building construction process in which the Foundation would use finally finished in 2010. On 17th of January 2010, the campus Rector at that time, Prof. Komaruddin Hidayat, signed the signature on an inscription stone as a part of official ceremony. Attended also at the time, Ir. HM. Shaleh, MT, the mayor of South Tangerang in charge.
Since then Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation kept trying to develop its wings of struggle. The foundation not only established Islamic education and braille Qur’anic publishing but also started opening a secular education by establishing a Learning Centre for Society (Pusat Kegiatan Belajar Masyarakat/PKBM) which subsequently developed and transformed into a Yarfin Specialized Islamic and Integrated School (Sekolah Khusus Islam Terpadu Yarfin/SKhIT) which legally obtain an operational certificate on 20th of April 2018 from DPMPTSP, Banten Province.
The integral aspect between the secular and Islamic education is implemented in the system under the education of Islamic Boarding School which is, in Indonesia, known as Pesantren. The Islamic boarding school is also a progressive manifestation from its earlier initiating activities represented through the small, but consistent religious gatherings among Jakartan Muslim with blindness especially. Furthermore, the Islamic boarding school also received its certificate of educational operation from the South Tangerang Ministry of Religious Affairs in 1st of November, 2018.
Until today, Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation has developed a number of institutions and operational units functioning as wings of foundation struggles to enhance the life quality and improve the secular and Islamic education for blind Muslim students in Indonesia. In 2019, Raudlatul-Makfufin Foundation has had educational services through Islamic Boarding School, Special School as well as an external social organization for blind Muslims named IKJAR (Ikatan Jama’ah Raudlatul Makfufin), including a unit of braille publication which has developed a large number of Islamic and public literatures, especially various versions of braille al-Qur’an known as mini al-Qur’an braille, al-Qur’an braille with translation either Indonesian or English.