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Help bring healing to a remote Indonesian village

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None of our basic human needs can be met without safe housing and secure and reliable income.

Suarti has neither of these things and she struggles each day to feed her children. Suarti’s husband died during the pandemic, leaving her with 5 children and a 2 bedroom guest house desperately in need of basic safety repairs. This building is their home and their only source of income. Since the death of her husband, it's deteriorated to the point that if you stand in the wrong spot your foot will fall right through the rotten floor!!! Suarti doesn't have access to an online booking platform like Airbnb. She doesn't even have wifi.

To find customers she uses the local teen surf guides to bring in potential guests. They have a look at her place and sometimes they switch from their existing accommodation for the much cheaper rate she has to offer. Despite the great location, tourists are hesitant to stay in such a dilapidated place and the guests that do pay around $15 per night.

We are Charlie - a medical doctor - and Nancy - a doula - taking a year away from our normal Australian lives to take our 6yr old to live in Suarti’s remote village in Indonesia for most of 2024.

In this village is a small medical clinic, staffed by a few local nurses and a birth centre is currently being built by the family of a newly graduated midwife. The medical clinic appeals for help to volunteer doctors or medical students. These volunteer doctors come to surf and stay for free in the clinic whilst they volunteer for 3hrs per day, providing free medical care to the locals and visiting surfers. They usually stay for a fortnight and sometimes up to 1 month or two.

Our trip will be the first time that the local community will have access to true continuity of care by a Western doctor. This lack of continuity has stifled management of any chronic conditions (like diabetes; a huge issue in Indonesia).

Until the birth centre opens there is no option for the women of the villager to birth near their homes. Home birth is illegal in Indonesia. Labouring women are expected to source transport on the back of a motorcycle - or a car if they have the means - to one of the few legal birthing locations on the island.

Nancy went to Nias in April, door-knocking to find us a place to live. Whilst she did find comfortable options, they didn't align with our values as much as trying to use our privilege and access to tools like GoFundMe to help Suarti.

We have the opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of her and her children. Suarti is currently trapped in a cycle of poverty where a substantial (in Indonesian terms) capital investment will allow her to break free and set up a sustainable business that will continue to provide for her young children and maybe even see them have access to university on the mainland. Unfortunately with no reliable income and no access to credit Suarti has had no safety net.

We have already had help contacting local building contractors. And just this week we have found a building material resilient enough to withstand the local environmental challenges; salt air, earthquakes, bugs humidity and constant damp wreak havoc! (Local people say that the local wood and iron available typically lasts about 5 years before it needs replacing!!). Using high-quality supplies such as BHP Colourbond for the roof and Kalsiboard instead of rot-prone wood are a lot more expensive but will safeguard Suarti an income for decades.

During our stay with her, we will also help Suarti improve her English and set up business systems for online bookings. The renovated property, photos, booking platform profiles and technology hardware will help her secure advance bookings and get money in her hands - and on the table - more reliably. If we can raise more than we need for renovations, the remainder will build a small playground for the local children, giving the local kids somewhere to play and just be kids after their school and work duties; an unfortunate burden they carry to contribute to their family income.

We have a deadline of this September to secure the first round of funding. We’re aiming to get the first major build done when we go over on 16th September so need to order materials to be shipped for the mainland and hire contractors. 

Together, let's transform lives, one village at a time. Please be generous. Please be kind. What would you give to be out of this situation if you were Suarti?

Join us in this cause, and help us bring hope and healing to a remote Indonesian village. 

That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.”
- Stan Lee (Spider-Man - Into the Spiderverse)



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Nancy And Charlie McLean
North Wollongong NSW

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