December is not only the last month of the year; it is the month of Christmas, the time of the year particularly dedicated to children!
Santa, gifts, magic, family, are just a few words describing the particular atmosphere of this time of the year. But today, let’s talk about other, more important values and actions: compassion, generosity, peace, and the spirit of sharing and giving back. Let’s think about the thousands of children around the world who don’t have the chance to celebrate Christmas with their families.
As Esi and I just had a baby when we started our home décor business, we immediately thought of the Betesda orphanage, based in Batam, an Indonesian island located right next to Singapore, which is where we live.
We already had had the opportunity to visit this orphanage in May 2016. It had been a great experience, with many memories to cherish. We had been deeply touched by the maturity and the joie de vivre of the kids who live there and thought we would further contribute to their well being through our business, Kulturë.
Charles with the kids and other volunteers
So for this last blog post of the year, we decided to talk about the Betesda orphanage and the amazing work done over there by Pastor Zebua and the caretakers to give those children education, support and most importantly, love.
In 2005, the third most powerful earthquake since 1965 in Indonesia devastated the region and particularly Nias (150 km west of Sumatra), causing a humanitarian disaster. Pastor Bishop Zebua organized a Relief Mission to Nias. Additionally, and through his Christian Foundation (Bahtera Misi Foundation), he created Betesda orphanage in Batam as a response to this tragic event.
Later on, in 2012, more children joined the orphanage after a tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Mentawai.
Today, no less than 48 children are living in the orphanage also called “Children House”.
During our visit, Esi and I were impressed by the positive attitude of the children. Despite the difficult events they faced, they managed to keep their smile on and were very happy to interact with us. We could also tell that they were well aware of what happiness meant and gave us back a lot of positive feelings. We knew that they all endured a lot in the past, but they also deeply cared about one another. This was the biggest lesson that we took away.
Esi (far right) with two young residents of the orphanage
With regards to the objectives of the orphanage, in addition to welcoming abandoned children, Pastor Zebua gives a high importance to:
- The protection of children rights: protecting them against all form of exploitation, violence and various forms of abuse.
- Providing a decent environment: after the electric fire that occurred in the orphanage in 2015, all necessary measures were taken to rebuild the structure. Thanks to a high mobilization, the reconstruction was completed in only one and half years. Various parties were involved in this porject, including Mme Tussaud Singapore: the famous institution decorated all the rooms of the house following the children’ wishes.
- Offering them the opportunity to empower themselves: every day the school bus of the orphanage picks up and drop off all the children to local schools (ranging from kindergarten to university level). Additionally, many cultural, artistic, IT and sportive activities are organized by volunteers to open their minds.
- Ensuring medical follow up (vaccinations, medical check-ups etc.)
Providing a decent quality of life and good education for all those kids requires a lot of funding and volunteers. This is why Pastor Zebua and the caretaker always rise donations. Their humanitarian call does not remain unanswered.
Groups of people are visiting the orphanage regularly. One person involved on a regular basis is Sophie Leneveu, a French woman living in Singapore. For the past seven years, a group of ten persons join Sophie every two or three months to bring help, money, clothes and many other things which can contribute to maintain a good quality of life for the 48 young residents. Additionally, they prepare a big meal for all the kids every time they visit the orphanage. This expedition is now a regular event which the children look forward to.
Esi and I, through Kulturë, are proud to contribute to enhancing the children’s living conditions and education. As such, we commit to giving 5% of our annual profits to the foundation.
We would like to thank our clients without whom this contribution wouldn’t be possible. By buying our Balinese paintings, wall decors, wood carvings, bamboo baskets etc., you help us to reach out to the kids and slowly improve their lives!
Please check the orphanage’s Facebook page https://m.facebook.com/OrphanageOutreachBatamIndonesia for more information regarding the trips to Batam. You can also message us if you wish to take part in this activity or contribute in your own way.
We wish a Merry Christmas to all the kids and their caretakers!