AFTER many years of entrepreneurship, Holland-based Syta Plantinga knew that corporate social responsibility was something that was very important to her. She began to explore ways that she could make a difference in the world using methods that were in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Her first foray into philanthropy was in Kenya, where she set up an organisation to help disadvantaged youth, and in 2007 she founded Kolewa Foundation here in Indonesia.
The mission of Kolewa Foundation is to help disabled people in Indonesia, particularly children and the elderly. They do this by facilitating a number of projects that include scouting individuals with cleft palates and physical abnormalities and transporting them to Jakarta for free surgeries, training hearing impaired children, and distributing second-hand hearing aids to those who need them but cannot afford them.
In Bali, Kolewa Foundation has partnered with Yayasan Swara Swari to help young people with hearing impairment. At their centre in Denpasar they test children for hearing problems and either provide them with hearing aids or arrange for implants and operations. The centre also offers free speech lessons for hearing impaired children, which can greatly improve the children’s chances of attending school.
On Rote Island the organisation gives ad hoc assistance to villagers who desperately need operations for everything from cleft palates to tumours, burns and open wounds. With fundraising money, donations, and help from the John Fawcett Foundation and Yayasan Sinar Pelangi, Kolewa Foundation sends the patients to Jakarta, covers their travel expenses, and arranges for free operations. To date they have helped more than 125 patients, and there are similar projects taking place in Timor, Sumba and Flores.
Many people make the work at Kolewa Foundation possible including donors, volunteers, doctors and fundraisers. You can help by donating money, doing volunteer work in Indonesia or abroad, doing an internship with the organisation, or organising fundraising events.