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Rawinala Building


Our disabled, developmentally delayed son Joe began at Rawinala as a three year old in an effort to open his world and provide a stimulating educational routine.Rawinala is one of a few special schools servicing visually impaired and developmentally delayed children of Jakarta. It specializes in educating the deaf blind. Signing and braille are taught.Joe loved it from day one and what’s more they loved him!

He was an angelic blond curly haired boy, the first ‘bule’ (pale skinned) to attend the school. As parents still struggling with their grief it was beautiful to have him so embraced and loved in an educational environment The early intervention programme with it’s small classes and structured routines was (and still is) excellent. Routines are predicted through the use of object symbols.  The child touches or holds an object to indicate the upcoming activity e.g. CD = music. This provides the Childs cue to the activity ahead. Music and movement is so ingrained in the Indonesian culture so composed a significant and impactful part of the curriculum. Significant impact was placed on educating each child to their functional that drumming in a band, learning shop skills, cooking or doing their washing.

About one third of the students board. This is generally because of distance or often their families cannot cope. Special needs kids and their families struggle with being marginalized. There is what I call a ‘hidden community’ in Indonesia . Some of the stories are mind boggling. Ranging from a (normal but) blind girl being kept a secret at home until she was about 20 years of age…to them being utilized by the many financially compromised families and used as beggars for an income stream. Shame and blame, especially for mothers, is rife.

The experience has one feel totally privileged and provided for by our established social welfare system in New Zealand. One can only admire the resilience and drive of the parents and children in their challenging world.

The old adage, a little goes a long way, definitely applies to Indonesia. Every little helps.



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