Who Founded the Centre and Where is it?
The Centre was founded by a New Zealander, Colin McLennan MBE in 1982. It is located on Jalan Kaliurang at Km 13.5 on the road from Yogyakarta to Kaliurang on Mt Merapi on the island of Java, Indonesia. Mt Merapi is a very active volcano.
How did Colin McLennan get involved?
He was in Indonesia in 1975 and saw a shoe-shine boy with one leg missing: lost in a traffic accident. That moved him to establish a Rehabilitation centre for physically disabled children of Indonesia’s poor.
Years later Yakkum Bali was started with Colin McLennan's help and the local manager there has grown this establishment substantially.
Who are the Centre’s Clients?
Both Centres are concerned with children and young adults (age 4-25 years) who are physically disabled – particularly amputees, those with paralysed limbs mainly as a result of polio, or various accidents: falling out of trees, off trains and trucks; motorbike and other traffic accidents, leading to spinal injuries and paraplegia, those with congenital deformities, and specifically with those from very poor families. Since 1982, the Centres have assisted more than 4,000 physically disabled children and young adults.
To be a client of the PRY and Yakkum Bali, patients must be:
- Under 24 years of age
- From the poorest of the poor families
- Be rehabilitated to the point where they are able to earn an income
- Not receiving help from any other donor.
It should be stressed “from very poor families” because poverty is a very big issue in Indonesia. The average tourist sees beggars in various places but does not realise that many Indonesians have to borrow money as soon as something out of the ordinary happens. On the other hand, there are of course many very rich people in Indonesia but they usually go to Singapore for medical treatment.
The Centre’s Parentage
The Centre is part of the Christian Foundation for Public Health (Yayasan Kristen untuk Kesehatan Umum – ”YAKKUM”). The YAKKUM Central Board is responsible to the synod church council of the Indonesian Protestant Churches and Javanese Protestant Churches of Central Java. There is no discrimination on religious grounds, race or sex at the Centre. Some 90% of its clients are Muslim. They can and do go to the nearby mosque. Neither Centre receives financial support from the Indonesian Government, but they work closely with its Department of Social Affairs.
Contributions from Rotary International
Rotary has been a long time supporter of Rehabilim, NZ Rotarians, and some clubs from Bali have not only have helped at the Centres, but even more so, by way of donations of wheelchairs, workshop equipment, mattresses for the dormitories, and even office furniture.
Services supplied by the centres
The work of both Centres involves providing assistance to individuals, depending on their needs, and may include:
- Medical – since PRY and Yakkum Bali is connected to the Yakkum organisation, it has access to the Bethesda Hospital in Yogyakarta, so that it can arrange hospitalisation and corrective surgery. At the Centre it can provide: physiotherapy, artificial limbs, braces, orthopaedic shoes, crutches and wheelchairs, and meeting all or part of the costs involved.
- Educational – since most of the clients arrive at both Centres with very little or no education, the Centres provide schooling at a primary school level in the Centres themselves. They also also arranges admission to local schools, meeting all or some of the cost of fees, books, uniforms, and transport.
- Vocational – since the emphasis is on making the clients financially independent once they have completed their rehabilitation and before they return to their villages, the Centres provide basic vocational training in skills chosen by the individual. The training courses range from woodworking, metalworking, woodcarving, repairing radios and motorbikes, to making toys, sewing dresses, and making batik fabrics.