When we found out we would move to Indonesia, I was so thrilled by the idea. I was looking forward to the challenge a life in the tropics would give me as a nurse.
Straightaway I joined Tulip Indonesia, which had begun as the NederlandseKlub Surabaya, a group of volunteers helping the disadvantaged. This organisationsupported schools in the slum areas of Surabaya and always reserved some of their funds for operations on cleft children. It was not until one of our members, Ibu Tri Wijantisari, had a cleft baby, that we realized the lack of information and support there was for the parents of a cleft child.
I was immediately taken withJanti’s idea of raising awareness for this birth defect. With many helping hands,includingDr Catherine Lee in Singapore, Mrs. Katrien van Santvoort ex-pat from Holland, Line Houmann and DitteEspensen, both ex-pats from Denmark, Cleft Care was established in 2006, only a few months after our first meeting.
The first employee, Endang, commenced work in 2007, followed shortly after by Dwi and then Clara. Three years later, in 2010, this small beginning had grown to become officially CCFI: Cleft Care Foundation Indonesia. Endang and Clara are still CCFI loyal employees, Lisha replaced Dwi and more recently, Emma joined the team.
In June 2011 our family left Indonesia to return to Belgium. I am so happy I could spend many years with Tulip Indonesia and CCFI, and even more so to read the regular newsletters! Part of my heart remains with the people of Indonesia, in the smile of a child somewhere……