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Awards honor midwife and school leader

Two women win this year's Frans Seda Award

Christanti Gomulia (left) and Oktovina Reba Bonay (right) received awards Christanti Gomulia (left) and Oktovina Reba Bonay (right) received awards
  • Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • October 1, 2012
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Two women from Papua and West Java provinces have received awards for their work in health care and education from a Jakarta-based Catholic foundation.

The winners of the Frans Seda Award, Oktovina Reba Bonay and Christanti Gomulia, were selected from 84 nominees. Each received 50 million rupiah (about US$5,263), a medallion and a certificate during Saturday's award ceremony at the Atma Jaya Catholic University.

Bonay was awarded her prize for 16 years of midwifery in remote villages in Papua.

“I serve 11 villages. However, there are only four villages which I can get to by motorbike. I go to the other seven by walking,” she said.

She often walks six kilometers to see patients. “I usually leave home at 6 a.m. and go back at 2 a.m. the next day. Sometimes I stay at a villager’s home,” she said.

According to the 39-year-old mother of two, the lack of medical workers and clinics remains a big problem in the province.

“I thank God for giving me a gift for my efforts. I will keep fighting for Papuans for the rest of my life,” she said, adding that some of the money will be used to buy medicines.

Gomulia, 40, was recognized for founding the Adiwidya Pre-School and the Bestari Utami Elementary School for less fortunate and disabled children in Garut district, West Java, regardless of their religious, ethnic, or racial backgrounds.

“I initiated the schools because I was concerned about expensive tuition fees which some people could not afford,” she said.

The schools focus on holistic education which develops skills and character.

“This award is my motivation. I will keep struggling,” Gomulia said.

Stefanus Ginting, who organized the awards ceremony, said he hopes the winners will inspire other young activists to serve others.

The Frans Seda Award was introduced to honor the late Franciscus Xaverius Seda, popularly known as Frans Seda, a former chairman of the Indonesian Catholic Party. He died on December 31, 2009 at the age of 83.

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