Hand Fortuna Helps Build a Loving Future for the Children of Kupang
by Karen Himura
Kids from dumpsite, Alak in Kupang. A number of HAND’s volunteers make a visit to this place twice a month. Hand Fortuna has renovated a small abandoned building and used it as a half way house for the kids. The volunteers did a health talk, medical services, teaching how to write and read, and bathing them.
Located in the East Nusa Tenggara province is a small island by the name Timor. Divided into East and West Timors, the East declared sovereignty from the Indonesian government in 2002, and goes by Timor Leste. The West remains a part of the old nation, and the capital city Kupang is the largest port on the island. The climate is humidly hot, but pristine beaches are no luxury around this area. Low levels of tourism have maintained Kupang's extraordinarily clean, beautiful, and quiet beaches. Inside an attraction called the Crystal Cave in Bolok Village, West Kupang District, there's a large body of sparkling clear water that locals and visitors alike love to swim in, free of charge. However, in spite of Kupang's abundance in natural beauty, the citizens aren’t exactly very prosperous.
East Nusa Tenggara ranks third from bottom on the country’s financial focus and poverty is at 20% nationwide. The most pressing issue Kupang is facing is how little attention it gets from the central government. Many areas are underdeveloped, and the locals lack basic facilities. People living closer to the city centre usually work in factories headquartered in Jakarta, which are often headed by specialists coming from outside the province itself. As for the majority of locals, there isn't much that can be done aside from farming and working blue-collar level jobs as a living, due to low variety of job opportunities. And much of the rest are unemployed.
In such circumstances where citizens are in deep impoverishment, it is children and women that suffer the most. Lack of better jobs and low levels of life's overall satisfaction have often given birth to brutally violent husbands. The lack in infrastructure has also resulted in a staggering case of malnutrition in both adult and children. Stunted growth in children is common, and in extreme cases, women are giving birth to physically and mentally challenged babies, which have resulted in infants getting abandoned because the parents do not know how to care for children with special care. This is where Ratna Pongkapadang enters the scene.
Supplying nutritions to kids under 6 of ex-refugees of Timor Leste in Noelbaki Kupang.
Carrying a vision for Kupang as a better place to live in, Ratna has founded HAND Fortuna Kupang, which modestly began with a Facebook page where people can share information about anyone in town who's in grave need of help. Joining hands with neighbours far and near, HAND Fortuna works to uplift and return dignity to the locals.
Amongst the various programmes HAND Fortuna carries, such as introducing eco- farming and providing/finding workforce for men, Ratna's core focus is the rescue of children's future—namely the future of Kupang.
Ratna firmly believes that food is, at this stage, much more beneficial than clothes or toys. HAND Fortuna strives to accommodate funds to be used in providing nutritious foods so as to prevent further brain damage in developing children. The foundation has built houses for orphaned children, library full of books in Indonesian and English, and 'day schools' where volunteers teach English. Ratna's goal is for this generation of children to be the last in the poverty line. She believes that there is always a better way to create a loving society if we properly educate our children with tender love and care.
HAND Fortuna Kupang can be reached through HAND's official website: http://hishand.org. The staff is very helpful and will inform you the ways you can contribute and be part of the building of a more loving Kupang. If you tell the staff that you wish to know more of Ratna’s activities, they will gladly direct you to be in contact with her.