Article & video blog by CBM Australia‘s CEO, Jane Edge.
the next five days CBM Board Chair Mick Turnbull and I will be travelling across
Indonesia to witness first-hand the life-changing work that has transformed the
lives of thousands of people living with disabilities, their families and their
Indonesia is a nation of contrasts. Although economic
growth is high, more than 28 million of its people live in poverty.
People with a
physical or psychosocial disability are 30 to 50 per cent more likely to
live in poverty, while children with a disability are seven times less
likely to go to school. Viewed as “suffering from a medical problem”, people
with a disability are often treated as objects of charity.
For more than 40 years, CBM Australia has provided
life-changing programs and sustainable support to the people of Indonesia.
In 1978, CBM started supporting Indonesian partners and in 2003 opened
an office in Jakarta focused on its Prevention of Blindness (PBL) Programme.
the need to provide even greater assistance, CBM developed its landmark 2014
Country Plan focused on four key programs:
(1) effective eye health care and prevention
(2) stronger community mental health and
(3) community-based rehabilitation and care;
(4) disaster risk reduction and emergency
love and compassion of Australian supporters has enabled CBM programs to provide
thousands of people with health care and rehabilitation; skills to get jobs or
create businesses; and self-confidence to advocate for people with disabilities
to be accepted in their community.
has also focused on working with all levels of community and government to establish
programs that include people with disabilities and will be self-sustaining into
First stop – Banda Aceh and Pidie, Aceh
Aceh is one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia and has experienced civil conflict
followed by the terrible 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. These disasters have
contributed to a high prevalence of physical disabilities
and healthcare issues throughout Aceh.
CBM has a strong reputation in Aceh focused on livelihoods for people with disabilities and has experienced a great
deal of success working with local governments.
project in Aceh will centre on helping people develop their self-esteem and
feel included in their community, on providing better ways to make a decent living,
and on encouraging local government to better support people with disabilities.
Next stop – Tuban, East Java Province, Java.
East Java has the highest
blindness occurrence among people 50 years of age and over. CBM’s Effective Eye
Care program aims to improve eye
health among this population and undertake preventative education
August marks a new chapter for CBM and its work in Indonesia.
By seeing our programs in action, meeting
beneficiaries to hear their personal stories and gaining a stronger
understanding of CBM’s work in Indonesia from our local partners, we can
develop the next chapter of our work in Indonesia – the 2019 Country Plan – so
that we can reach out and effectively help even more people.
Mick and I are looking forward to seeing the high-quality programs that your compassion has provided to the people living with disabilities. Follow our journey:
Indonesia did not
become the country’s official name until 1945 when it declared its independence
from the Netherlands. However, the name ‘Indonesia’ was used as early as 1884
by a German geographer and is thought to derive from the Greek indos, meaning “India,” and nesos, meaning “island.”
There is a German
connection for CBM as well.
In 1908, German pastor Ernst Christoffel founded CBM in Turkey
with the opening of a home for children who were blind and orphaned. From these
small beginnings, CBMI has grown into today being one of the world’s leading
disability and development agencies. Christoffel built CBMI on core values such
as Christianity, internationalism, professionalism, stewardship, honest
communication and inclusion – all values we’re committed to today.