Indonesia: Work With Children With Disabilities

“Your handicap is a punishment from God.” Children with disabilities in Indonesia still suffer from this stigma. A women's initiative of the Taraja Church breaks through the isolation of these children and stands up for their rights.

A dark corner in the house – that was Augustine's allotted place. The Indonesian girl is blind and in the first years of her life, she received little attention. Today, everything is different. She sits at table and forcefully cuts a large squash. One only realises she is blind when she stands up to fetch a saucepan. It is quite natural for Augustine to help around the house today. She has even learnt to read and write Braille.

Out of the corner, into the midst of society

Augustine managed all of that with the help of volunteer women of the Toraja Church who have supported the girl for the past eleven years. In the middle of the 1990s, they started looking for children with disabilities and supporting them with the programme "Rehabilitation into society" (RBM). Their motivation: Indonesian families often lock up children with disabilities in a hidden part of the house. This is because that traditionally, these children are seen as "a punishment of God" as a consequence for wrongdoing by the family. This view is also widely held in Indonesia, even among Christians.

The female co-workers of the RBM try everything to have children with disabilities accepted from an early age as the image of God in families and parishes. They also support the rights of the girls and boys to medical care and education – also at national level. The female volunteers visit the families locally in their mountain villages. Together with doctors they discuss how to support the young children individually according to their skills. In order to overcome prejudices, they organise informative seminars and include the children in worship services and church festivities. Some of the children are taught in a new building which was finished in Rantepao in 2013 – this was also made possible by the many donations contributed to the EMS.


255 million inhabitants, of which 22% are disabled with no school education

Leading an independent life

The aim of the project is for children with disabilities to lead a more or less independent life. "The fact that this is possible is shown by the many young people we have supported or are still in the process of doing so. They work and so they contribute to their livelihood," says Milka Sarangalla with delight. She heads the programme. Augustine is also one of these 550 children and young people. With a small loan from the RBM she opened a kiosk where she mainly sells hand-woven bags which she made herself.

Project goals

“I hope that the children will gradually be able to live on their own and that they will be accepted and respected in the congregations as people with disabilities s,” says Tandu Ramba, a co-worker of the Toraja Church. The work of many volunteer women helps to integrate children with disabilities in society and promotes their mental and physical health.


Project work

About 550 pupils of both genders are looked after by the Toraja Church project. Besides the centre in Rantepao, classes are held in about 20 external schoolrooms in the villages of the Toraja highlands. Besides educational work, the work of many volunteer women includes making home visits with physiotherapy and holding talks in villages to create awareness among villagers for people with disabilities.


Project partner

The Toraja Church (GT) is similar to a people’s church on a small scale. About 75 per cent of the population living in the Toraja mountains in South Sulawesi are Christian. The church today has 650,000 members in over 700 congregations. The GT runs very advanced diaconal programmes, such as the support of people with disabilities and rural development. The church is committed to vocational training and runs several schools and two large hospitals.



We are pleased to hear that you are interested in this project. If you have any general questions, please use the contact form below. We are also happy to help you personally if you have any questions or require further information – by phone or by E-mail.


Djoko P. A. Wibowo

Liaison Secretary Indonesia

+49 711 636 78 -36

Angelika Jung

Head of Unit Fundraising

+49 711 636 78 -63

More Projects

Choose category
  • Cameroon
  • China
  • Germany
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Korea
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • All

A bad economic situation, great poverty and few prospects: peasant farmers in Indonesia often live on the breadline. With an agricultural animal breeding project, the Protestant Indonesian Church in Luwu is opening…

Since Indonesian village schools are poorly equipped, many parents send their children to secondary schools in the city. There the children find lodging and supportive care in Christian boarding homes.

Many Indonesian children and adolescents have been exposed to violence and hunger or have lost their parents or their homes at an early age. They find a new home at the "Entrusted Love" children's home.

Many people in the rural regions of Sulawesi live in poverty. The Christian Church in South Sulawesi (GKSS) runs an agricultural project which trains farming women and men in well-founded cultivation methods to…

Until now, anyone who wanted to grow their own vegetables or herbs in the Indonesian city of Palopo needed agricultural land or their own garden. Now, the hydroponic system of the Indonesian Protestant Church in…

Earthquakes and tsunamis are not unusual in Indonesia. Due to its location on a tectonic fault line, the island state is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world. The Indonesian Council of Churches is…

In Indonesia's remote rural regions, children have fewer education opportunities than in cities. Village schools often lack teachers or the right equipment. The Protestant Church in South East Sulawesi is creating…

There is an enormous need for ecological and social business concepts for small and medium-sized enterprises on the island of Bali. Together with the Dhyana Pura University, the Bali Church is actively working on…

Many young people from different regions of the country live on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. They often struggle with identity issues at their new place of residence. The church music laboratory run by the…

Young people living in rural communities on Sulawesi have hardly any training opportunities at all. The Toraja and Minahasa Churches support young people on their vocational paths so that they can build a better…

Prison ministry performed by the Bali Church is based on the words of Jesus: “I was in prison and you visited me.” (Matthew 25:36). The Christian conviction says that every person possesses dignity because it is…

Domestic violence, human trafficking or forced prostitution: violence against women in Indonesia comes in many guises. With the "MBM Safe House", the Maha Bhoga Marga Foundation (MBM) of the Christian Protestant…

Sulawesi is one of the poorer islands in Indonesia. Religious conflicts, a lack of food or the danger of AIDS are only some of the local problems. The churches are battling intensively to sustainably improve the…

Christians are a minority in Indonesia. EMS currently supports five projects in its Indonesian member churches, which deal with the education and training of volunteers and pastors.

The Indonesian Protestant Church in Donggala (GPID) teaches adolescents ecological awareness and the knowledge to adapt agricultural methods to harmonise with God's creation.

“Your handicap is a punishment from God.” Children with disabilities in Indonesia still suffer from this stigma. A women's initiative of the Taraja Church breaks through the isolation of these children and stands up…

The Toraja Mamasa Church is helping to improve healthcare throughout an entire region through its training courses for personnel and investment in equipment for the “Banua Mamase” hospital.