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'Adopt a child' says Sant’Egidio

New campaign encourages affluent Indonesians to help their nation's poor

Participants at the launch of foster parents program
Participants at the launch of foster parents program
  • Konradus Mangu, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • February 10, 2012
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The Sant’Egidio community launched a new child sponsorship initiative yesterday aimed at getting well-off Indonesians to help poor children get a better start in life.

The project is an extension of an existing scheme which seeks foreign donors.

According to the community’s coordinator, Prisca Nuriati, the scheme was launched after a recent survey saw a sharp increase in the number of poor people across the country despite the fact living standards as a whole are improving.

Data from the Asian Development Bank says the number of Indonesians living on less than 7,800 rupiah (87 US cents) a day increased from 40.4 million in 2008 to 43.1 million in 2010.

“The need is so great. That is why we are doing this,” said Nuriati during the scheme’s launch at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Kemakmuran, West Jakarta.

Eveline Winarko, the community’s Jakarta representative, said the foreign scheme called Long Distance Adoption has been running since 2004 and involves donors from abroad “adopting” more than 500 children in Java and Sumatra by providing them with financial support in terms of health care and schooling,” she said.

The new program will involve donors from right across Indonesia.

Nuriati hoped the new “adopt a child” initiative “will create a close bond between the donors and the beneficiaries” and eventually contribute to narrowing the gap between the haves and have-nots.

The Sant’Egidio community in Italy started the international adopt a child scheme in September 1998. It was designed as an act of solidarity which would guarantee children in poor countries and their families some economic support.

In Indonesia, Sant’Egidio has 15 communities serving hundreds of poor children and the elderly.

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