Bringing hope to poor villagers

Coolum’s Jill Hofmann has fun with local children on last year’s trip to North Sumatra.
Coolum’s Jill Hofmann has fun with local children on last year’s trip to North Sumatra.

A group of caring Coolum people will head to Indonesia next month to help poor villagers living on the islands of west Sumatra.

The nine-strong contingent will provide medical and dental support, improve hygiene via water purification, paint and teach vegetable production.

The group will team up with Coolum woman Ruby Senaratne and husband Channa who for 12 years have been helping the villagers of Nias and surrounds to escape from poverty by setting up village-managed small industries to increase incomes of the locals.

Following the tsunami and earthquake in 2005 and 2006, the couple set up a fibreglass canoe factory for the locals to replace heavy wooden canoes destroyed during the earthquake.

They have also established a coconut oil business run by the local village. Profits from these businesses go back to the locals.

Channa and Ruby also support an orphanage to help about 35 children orphaned after the earthquake.

The Coolum team will help the children at the orphanage and at isolated villages on several remote islands.

Organiser Jill Hofman is appealing to locals to donate clothes in good condition and black school shoes for the children of the orphanage.

Donations can be left at Coolum Beach Dental, 5-7 Birtwill Street (Coolum Chambers), or at the Coolum Christian Family Church.

Jill thanked Coolum Travel for its generous help, and the Coolum Christian Family Church and the wider Coolum community for giving almost $3000 for the orphanage and medical kits.

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