Posts Tagged: “Indonesia”

What’s In A Name? Honoring A Legend

little helen keller

Lina with her daughter, Little Helen Keller
Photo: © HKI

Helen Keller once said, “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.” As we approach what would have been Helen’s 134th birthday, we are reminded of her positive impact and lasting legacy through the stories of people whose lives have been transformed by Helen Keller International’s programs.

Lina and her family live in a small village in Indonesia where fish and eggs are rare, expensive, and often reserved for special occasions. Every day Lina’s three children, including her nine-month-old daughter, ate meals that consisted of boiled cassava leaves and papaya flowers, which are low in essential nutrients that help children develop healthy bodies and immune systems. Thanks to Helen Keller International’s Homestead Food Production program, Lina learned how to cultivate a home garden filled with leafy, nutrient-rich vegetables, as well as how to raise chickens and farm catfish.

The Helen Keller International team also taught Lina and other mothers in her village how to prepare the catfish they raised. And not only did the HKI team teach the mothers how to cook their food, but also why- promoting an understanding of the specific nutritional benefits that were to be gained by their families. They cooked catfish porridge with vegetables and learned to prepare other delicious meals that Lina can be sure will help her family grow healthy and strong.  Lina feels empowered by her newly gained knowledge: “Now I can make food for my daughter that is easy to cook, tasty and nutritious, and not too expensive.”

Inspired by the impact of Homestead Food Production on her family’s life and in appreciation for the knowledge she received from Helen Keller International, Lina named her youngest daughter Helen Keller, a tribute to our famous founder.

Honor Helen Keller’s legacy by helping us to continue reaching families like Lina’s with your gift today.

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Witnessing Helen Keller’s Legacy in Children Around the World


Photo: © HKI

As the birthday of our founder, Helen Keller, approaches on June 27, it’s important to remember the millions of children around the world today who share Helen’s strength and courage. Like Helen, many children face seemingly insurmountable odds. By empowering them with the proper tools and access to help we can give these children the opportunity to let their intelligence and ambition shine, and the chance to reach their full potential in the classroom and beyond.

One of these children is Andhika, an 11-year-old boy from East Java, Indonesia, who was born visually-impaired. Andhika lives with his family in an area typically reserved for refugees and disaster survivors. His school did not previously integrate students with special needs into the mainstream classrooms. Andhika’s challenges sometimes prevented him from attending school at all. With the help of Helen Keller International’s Opportunities for Vulnerable Children (OVC) program, the teachers and administration at Andhika’s school received special training to help kids like Andhika make the most of their education and allow them to learn and grow alongside their peers without disabilities.

Now, teachers and fellow students in Andhika’s community are eager to support their schoolmates by making extra efforts wherever they can. For instance, Andhika’s principal used funds from the school’s operational budget to provide for Andhika’s transportation to and from school- due to the far distance between school and his home. During breaks, some students voluntarily take turns accompanying Andhika to the common area and around school. Andhika’s aunt expressed joy in seeing her nephew be able to go to school, and to finally be able to go every day.

The spirit of Andhika’s community echoes the famous words of Helen Keller: “The welfare of each is bound up in the welfare of all.”

Help children like Andhika reach their full potential with your donation to Helen Keller International.

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Continuing Helen Keller’s Legacy in Indonesia

This blog was written by HKI’s Director of Communications after a recent field visit to Indonesia.

Merilya Wanti, a resource teacher in Jakarta, works with two students as part of Helen Keller International's Opportunities for Vulnerable Children program.  Photo: c. HKI

Merilya Wanti, a resource teacher in Jakarta, works with two students as part of Helen Keller International’s Opportunities for Vulnerable Children program.
Photo: c. HKI

Most of us living in the United States take the freedom and ability to attend school for granted.  Over the past 100 years, great strides have been made to ensure that all children, regardless of who they are or where they come from, have access to public education, as well as the opportunity to learn and grow through all that it offers.

However, for many children living with disabilities in other parts of the world this is not the case.  In fact, of the estimated 1.5 million children in Indonesia who live with disabilities, fewer than 4% have access to any educational services.  Historically, Indonesia offered very few options for students with special needs children.  If one of these schools was too far for a small child to commute to every day, that child often stayed home and received no formal education at all.


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Categories Asia-Pacific

Saving the Sight of Diabetics in Bangladesh and Indonesia

Did you know that by 2030 over 550 million people in the world will suffer from diabetes? According to the International Diabetes Federation approximately 366 million people already have diabetes and 80% them live in low and middle income countries.  The age of onset for Type 2 diabetes continues to fall worldwide, and is increasingly found in people as young as their late teens and early twenties.

What do these shocking statistics have to do with eye health? One of the lesser known side effects of diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy and results in a sometimes irreversible loss of vision among diabetics. Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is asymptomatic in its early stages, so regular screening is to identify and treat DR is crucial.

With funding from the World Diabetes Foundation and Standard Chartered Bank, HKI successfully developed two pilot programs in Bangladesh and Indonesia, areas where DR is often untreated due to a lack of well-trained ophthalmologists. The key components of HKI’s program include training diabetes clinicians to recognize the disease and encourage their patients to obtain annual eye examinations; raising awareness among diabetics about the significant risk of vision loss; and increasing patient access to DR screenings and care by developing affordable and efficient treatment systems. Working with our local partners, HKI has succeeded in making DR screening a basic component of the screening regimen for all diabetes patients served by these facilities. This process includes photographing the retina, sending the images to ophthalmologists outside of the region over the internet, determining the presence and severity of disease and offering appropriate treatment to the patients. HKI hopes to scale-up these efforts to train more doctors and reach more diabetics to prevent the spread of diabetic retinopathy.


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Categories Asia-Pacific, Preventing Blindness

The Importance of Good Partnerships: Meet HKI’s Dr. David S. Friedman

An interview with HKI's Senior Ophthalmologist and Eye Health Advisor.

You sometimes hear the phrase, “One plus one equals three,” and I have been struck by the power of that notion in my work with Helen Keller International through the partnerships we create with local organizations. I recently sat down with Dr. David S. Friedman, HKI’s Senior Ophthalmologist and Eye Health Advisor, to talk about his experiences in public health and his perspective on building partnerships to achieve success.  Dr. Friedman most recently was awarded the prestigious Alcon Research Institute award for his contributions to ophthalmic research.


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Categories Asia-Pacific, Preventing Blindness, Staff Profiles