Nativitas Flores - Yayasan Nativitas

YayasanNativitas is founded by Marie-Jeanne Colson in 1974,  handover to new local management December 2018

Marie-Jeanne Colson, schooled as teacher and nurse, has been living and working on the island of Flores since 1974 
Nativitas Flores
The Yayasan (Foundation) Nativitas was founded in 1974. During a period of more than 40 years, more than 4.480 children were provided short- and long-term refuge, along with many adults. Fourty people are working at the Yayasan, some of whom are handicapped.

Now, after 44 years of unrelenting commitment, Marie-Jeanne Colson is passing the torch to five local staff members who have been involved in this project for many years. They are committed to continuing Marie-Jeanne’s work, supported not only by sponsorship from Belgium and the Netherlands, but also by the formal recognition of the local government.

We have witnessed an evolution from shelters to transit centres to care centres, along with financial and logistical support for operations and micro-credits, focused on helping children, women and poor people become self-sufficient in a sustainable way. In addition, there is a financial adoption programme available (for € 9 per month) which provides children with the opportunity to go to school.

Objectives of the project
Soon after her arrival on Flores, Marie-Jeanne was confronted with the distressing poverty and living conditions of children, and thus launched the Foundation Nativitas – Yayasan Nativitas.
The most important objectives mapped out 40 years ago continue to be relevant today:
• Decreasing child mortality in the Sikka district;
• Helping and supporting disabled children in their journey towards becoming confident adults, helping to avoid their exclusion from society, and promoting their integration within their family and community;
• Providing girls and women with the opportunity to gain an education, so that they can play a valuable role in their community

These objectives are realised through sub-projects focused on:
• Promoting self-sufficiency and self-reliance of the local population; educating women so that they can become better in various areas (health, economy, agriculture, domestic responsibilities);
• Encouraging collaborative behaviours: the (foster)mothers also help in the centres and learn ‘on the job’;
• Fostering community building through ensuring that people return to their own village as soon as they are able, so that they can transfer their new learnings to their community;
• Improving health care through providing children and (foster)mothers with healthy and adequate food so that they can become strong again, along with teaching the (foster)mothers about healthcare;
• Improving agriculture for a more stable food provision, through educating women in how to best till the soil, grow vegetables and breed animals;
• Improving the general infrastructure and living environment through providing the centres which are difficult to reach with clean water;
• Defending human rights and democracy through providing shelter and support to the weakest in society (children, disabled and women).

The centres
There are several centres: PantiNativitas in Watublapi (1975), PantiRessurexio in Lekebai (1979), PantiAssumptio in Wolofeo (1980), Panti Maria Visitasi in Blawuk (1989) and Panti Maria Stella Maris in Nangahure (1996). In addition, there is an outdoors centre in Wairi’i (2004) for hydrotherapy, a boarding house for girls attending junior high school (Ashrama St. Theresia in Nebe, 1992) and a workshop and farm.

Sustainable Development Goals / Climate problems
Because Indonesia is located in the ‘ring of fire’, it is often plagued by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and heavy monsoon rainfall. The centres have been built so that they are ‘earthquake-resistant’.

A detailed overview of these challenges is available upon request (email, telephone or letter). Just like the environment, the SDGs are an important focus area for us.

We warmly thank you for your support, which not only helped to pay for repair costs to the centres, but also for the good of the population on Flores. There has been a huge improvement over the years, but there are still people in need due to the unfair and difficult living conditions.

De kinderen van Flores vzw - Aalbeeksesteenweg 94 - 8500 Kortrijk
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