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Updated: March 17, 1987 05:00 PM GMT
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Irian iaya Vice Governor Sugiyono has hailed the role played by Catholic missioners in improving people´s lives in remote rural areas of his province, Indonesia´s least economically developed territory.

According to Sugiyono, missioners have helped "civilize backward people" through years of improving their human qualities.

"Thanks to the missionaries´ work, people here have managed to weave their own clothes with appropriate tools," Sugiyono said. "Some of them have become professional weavers and earn money from selling their hand-woven stuff."

During the governor´s visit to remote areas of Sorong regency in February, Dutch Precious Blood Sister Wilhelmin Derks told him the sisters will continue teaching weaving to local women and high school students.

The sisters also teach other handicrafts and maintain a small hospital. Medicines and weaving materials are flown from Manowakari and Sorong.

Irian Jaya, the 260,000 sq km western half of New Guinea, is 22 percent of Indonesia´s land area, but has only 1 percent of the population.


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