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Atambua NGO continues to serve women and children

Founded by a nun, the center marks 10 years tackling domestic violence, rape

A group of Servants of the Holy Spirit nuns working in Atambua A group of Servants of the Holy Spirit nuns working in Atambua
  • Fransiskus P. Seran, Atambua
  • Indonesia
  • January 14, 2011
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Founded by an East Nusa Tenggara nun, the Woman and Child Care Forum (FPPA) in Atambua, eastern Indonesia, has served a thousand women and children in its 10-year history.

Sister Sisilia Anak Agung from the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) established the forum on Aug. 3, 2000 after witnessing the condition of women and children living in refugee camps following the 1999 referendum in East Timor.

After the independence of East Timor (now Timor Leste) those who sided with Indonesia were forced to flee to the border area of Belu district where they lived in refugee camps.

“Armed conflicts caused physical and psychological trauma. This turned women’s bodies into targets of physical violence committed by men,” the nun recalled.

The forum now works with local NGOs including Rumah Perempuan (House of Women) and the Work Network for Women in Eastern Indonesia as well as international organizations including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Taking as its mission the creation of a peaceful world without violence, it promotes the rights of women and children and empowers them through a variety of programs.

These programs include organizing seminars and workshops, providing counseling, and publishing brochures and pamphlets on human rights, human trafficking, HIV/AIDS and other issues.

Forty women, mostly from refugee camps, attended a Jan. 6-7 program which introduced ways to prevent women trafficking.

“In 2010 we handled 68 cases,” Sister Agung told ucanews.com. “Many of these involved domestic violence, rape and persecution.”

The forum currently works closely with a variety of women including illiterates, widows, villagers, businesswomen, former refugees, street vendors and prostitutes.

It also serves victims of human trafficking and violence as well as street children.

Related report
Indonesian nuns give rice to elderly, widows

 IJ12848.1636
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