Bhakti Luhur & Henkjan Smits

Bhakti Luhur & Henkjan Smits
Feb 19th, 2010, in IM Posts, Opinion, by madrotter

Visiting charitable homes for children and homeless in Malang, with Madrotter and a Dutch tv star.

Last week my father, brother, Dutch celebrity Henk-jan Smits and his wife, a camera man and Bernd Schneider who invented the Vacuvin came to Indonesia. Bernd Schneider is a pretty amazing man. He got rich from Vacuvin and then set up the Sharing Succes organisation which together with Liliane Fonds, another Dutch charity, pays for housing and schooling for handicapped kids world-wide.

The purpose of this trip was to make a film for Dutch television also to be presented at the next Sharing Success gala in the hope that after seeing this folks will donate. We visited a whole bunch of so called wisma’s (homes) in Malang, Tangerang, Bekasi and Bandung.

We started in Malang where Dutch Roman Catholic priest Father Romo Janssen resides. He’s the man who started the charity Bhakti Luhur, he’s 88 now, an incredible man who has lived and worked for the poor and handicapped in Indonesia for the last 57 years and he has opened up more than 300 of these homes all over the country.

We spent two days there, visiting different wismas in the area and the people there do incredible work, teaching blind, deaf, mentally handicapped, deformed kids. One of them is this girl, Agatha, who was born without hands and has only one leg. She’s a very, very happy girl and when she’s not in school she’s riding a bike all over the place. She told us that this was her friend’s bike and she dreamed of having a bike for herself so we took her into Malang and got her the bike she wanted.

I got close to another girl, really connected, her name is Tias and she can’t move anymore, can’t talk, they keep her eyes open with pieces of tape and I promised her to be back as soon as I can. Hundreds of kids are being helped in these places.

Here’s a blind boy teaching me about braille:

We also went to Tangerang, another wisma and a very big school where we saw some heartbreaking stuff like this little girl. She’s five years old and spent 4 years of them on piles of garbage, her parents were scavengers, both have passed away. This girl is blind, her body is covered with scars from infections and she’s always sitting like this, bumping her head into the ground, so they put a rag or a pillow under her head. When you gently stroke her back she stops bumping so hard.

This is Angelina, but everybody calls her Angel, she’s incredible, talking non-stop, running around full of energy. Angelina had hydrocephalus, you see these kids often on Indonesian tv, enormous heads full with water, she couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk but thanks to a few succesful operations she’s doing very well.

I’ve got loads of photo’s so if you guys want to see more I’ll be happy to post them ok!!

Henk-jan SmitsYesterday night there was a short item about this trip on Dutch television, it’s only two minutes (in Dutch), here you go:

Turns out I’m pretty good with these kids, a fact that was not lost on the folks from the wismas and the group coming from Holland and I’ve been asked to get involved, to start working with these people and these kids so I will begin training in Malang soon. Right now I’m busy getting this specially made wheel chair for a kid in Tangerang and I will soon go into kampungs all around Java to see how they give individual therapy to kids. They are always looking for volunteers in the big wisma in Malang, when I was there there was an elderly Australian couple teaching English and many doctors, physio-therapists etc. do voluntary work there. So contact them if you’re interested!!!


Donations to Bhakti Luhur:

In Rupiah

Bank : BCA BANK Malang
Alamat : Jln. JEND.BASUKI RAHMAT No.70-74,Malang
No.Rek. 011-30-9501-3 a/n Yayasan Bhakti Luhur

In US$

Bank: ABN-AMRO, Jalan Pemuda No.54, PO. BOX 1850 Surabaya (60018) INDONESIA

Account number : 41.13.144


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