Indonesian Orphaned Children Grow – and Go Mainstream

Manado, Indonesia. In 2001 Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) built its first full-care project in Indonesia, outside Manado in predominantly Christian North Sulawesi. Over the next decade OIWW would build a short-term, full-care project in predominantly Hindu Bali and a three-year full-care program after the Tsunami in predominantly Muslim Aceh.

The capital city of Manado is one of the most Christian minority cities in Islamic Indonesia.

The children in Bali and Aceh were eventually able to move back with their extended families.Today, ten years later, our original children in Manado who were then 6-8 years old are beginning to age out of the program.   We have recently closed our large six-bedroom home there to mainstream the remaining children into our director’s home, which has been improved to welcome them.

Seeing our kids infrequently means I am always astonished at how much they have grown!

One day this program will end.   We hope to locate academic opportunities for our five remaining boys there in Indonesia and around the world.   Our remaining teens are Raymond, Allan, Axel, Jerrel, and Ruben.   Our oldest is now in high school, studying computer technology.   OIWW has done well in Raising Global Citizens in Indonesia.   These kids may be sponsored for $50 per month here.

Orphans International Worldwide prides itself on being “Internet-connected.”

Our director Bill Tenda in Sulawesi, another global citizen, trained with me in Aceh following that horrible Tsunami, and then further with OIWW Global Officer John Lee at OIWW’s post-Tsunami project in Sri Lanka.   He is an excellent English teacher as well, and has taught our kids how to express themselves globally.   He knows death – and he appreciates life.

I have watched these boys grow up for years – I insisted from Day One they had a cat to love.

OIWW’s primary rule – Mathew’s Rule – requires all children in OIWW’s care to be treated the way in which we would treat our own children.   The rule is named after my adopted teenage son who came from Manado fifteen years ago, creating the impetus for the founding of Orphans International Worldwide.   Matt is a contemporary of the teenage children of OIWW Indonesia.

Reading and libraries have always been important for raising our kids as global citizens.

Of course, given the times we live in today globally, our children in Indonesia now follow me on Facebook and Twitter.   My son chats with them from New York.   Trust me, reading this article will be a homework assignment for them.

Our kids explore local parks around Manado – here at the entrance of a cave.

I have mixed emotions when I look at these pictures.   I have given so much of my life to build a home for these guys, but in all honesty it has been far less than I had intended.   It is so much harder to make a difference in the world that I ever dreamed possible eleven years ago.   But my God do these young men look different then when we did their Intakes a decade ago.   They are now so self-confident and filled with hope.   My mother who pushed me to begin Orphans International would be so proud of them.

Nothing beats the heat in Indonesia better than an exciting water park!

North Sulawesi was once known as the Celebes Islands and its capital Manado is nearby the world-famous diving at its Bunaken Island.   The happy children we have raised there count going to the beach – and especially Bunakin Island – as one of their favorite activities.

I cannot recall how many times I have traveled to the beach and islands with our children.

Orphans International Worldwide has always been especially close to the people of Indonesia.   OIWW’s first benefit for was held in 2000 in the Indonesian Consulate in New York, and another was held there in 2008.   The noble ideals of the Republic of Indonesia – known as Pancasila – are important to all humanity for their emphasis on tolerance and diversity.

For those of you who know my adopted son Mathew, you can see genetically this is where he is from!

However, we have more successful in getting Haitian-Americans involved in helping Haiti after the earthquake then we have been in getting the many Indonesian-Americans in Queens and New Jersey to work with us.   One reason is that they prefer to perform charity through their own varied churches.

Hanging out at the mall as popular for our kids in Indonesia as it is for my own kid in the U.S.

Mathew’s Rule requires that we care for each child within the Orphans International Worldwide system as if they were our own.   I plan to help Mathew until the day I die.   I plan to do the same for these guys as well.   I cannot wait to see them again this fall.   I am sure they will be looking for their Christmas presents.


Related stories by Jim Luce:

The Beginning: Awakening in Indonesia

After the Tsunami: The Campus of Orphans International Worldwide Sumatera

Riding the Tiger: The Creation of OI Worldwide

Orphans International Worldwide: Raising Global Citizens

Stress on Liberal Education for Orphaned Children

New York Post: Tsunami Saint – NY’er Opens Heart and an Indonesian Orphanage

Originally published in The Daily Kos, August 15, 2010.

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About Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens

View all posts by Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce: Thought Leaders & Global Citizens
Jim Luce ( writes and speaks on Thought Leaders and Global Citizens. Bringing 26 years management experience within both investment banking and the non-profit sector, Jim has worked for Daiwa Bank, Merrill Lynch, a spin-off of Lazard Freres, and two not-for profit organizations and a foundation he founded. As Founder & CEO of Orphans International Worldwide (, he is working with a strong network of committed professionals to build interfaith, interracial, Internet-connected orphanages in Haiti and Indonesia, and creating a new, family-care model for orphans in Sri Lanka and Tanzania.

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