Bhakti Luhur & Henkjan Smits

Feb 19th, 2010, in Society, by

Visiting charitable homes for children and homeless in Malang, with Madrotter and a Dutch tv star.

Last week my father, brother, Dutch celebrity Henk-jan Smits and his wife, a camera man and Bernd Schneider who invented the Vacuvin came to Indonesia. Bernd Schneider is a pretty amazing man. He got rich from Vacuvin and then set up the Sharing Succes organisation which together with Liliane Fonds, another Dutch charity, pays for housing and schooling for handicapped kids world-wide.

The purpose of this trip was to make a film for Dutch television also to be presented at the next Sharing Success gala in the hope that after seeing this folks will donate. We visited a whole bunch of so called wisma‘s (homes) in Malang, Tangerang, Bekasi and Bandung.

Dutch celebrity Henk-jan Smits with Agatha in Malang

We started in Malang where Dutch Roman Catholic priest Father Romo Janssen resides. He’s the man who started the charity Bhakti Luhur, he’s 88 now, an incredible man who has lived and worked for the poor and handicapped in Indonesia for the last 57 years and he has opened up more than 300 of these homes all over the country.

Father Romo Janssen
Father Janssen, Malang

We spent two days there, visiting different wismas in the area and the people there do incredible work, teaching blind, deaf, mentally handicapped, deformed kids. One of them is this girl, Agatha, who was born without hands and has only one leg. She’s a very, very happy girl and when she’s not in school she’s riding a bike all over the place. She told us that this was her friend’s bike and she dreamed of having a bike for herself so we took her into Malang and got her the bike she wanted.

Agatha buying a bike
Agatha buying a bike

Agatha riding a bike
Agatha riding

I got close to another girl, really connected, her name is Tias and she can’t move anymore, can’t talk, they keep her eyes open with pieces of tape and I promised her to be back as soon as I can. Hundreds of kids are being helped in these places.

Here’s a blind boy teaching me about braille:

Blind boy teaching braille

We also went to Tangerang, another wisma and a very big school where we saw some heartbreaking stuff like this little girl. She’s five years old and spent 4 years of them on piles of garbage, her parents were scavengers, both have passed away. This girl is blind, her body is covered with scars from infections and she’s always sitting like this, bumping her head into the ground, so they put a rag or a pillow under her head. When you gently stroke her back she stops bumping so hard.

blind girl

This is Angelina, but everybody calls her Angel, she’s incredible, talking non-stop, running around full of energy. Angelina had hydrocephalus, you see these kids often on Indonesian tv, enormous heads full with water, she couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk but thanks to a few succesful operations she’s doing very well.


I’ve got loads of photo’s so if you guys want to see more I’ll be happy to post them ok!!

Henk-jan SmitsYesterday night there was a short item about this trip on Dutch television, it’s only two minutes (in Dutch), here you go:

Turns out I’m pretty good with these kids, a fact that was not lost on the folks from the wismas and the group coming from Holland and I’ve been asked to get involved, to start working with these people and these kids so I will begin training in Malang soon. Right now I’m busy getting this specially made wheel chair for a kid in Tangerang and I will soon go into kampungs all around Java to see how they give individual therapy to kids. They are always looking for volunteers in the big wisma in Malang, when I was there there was an elderly Australian couple teaching English and many doctors, physio-therapists etc. do voluntary work there. So contact them if you’re interested!!!

Donations to Bhakti Luhur:

In Rupiah

Bank : BCA BANK Malang
Alamat : Jln. JEND.BASUKI RAHMAT No.70-74,Malang
No.Rek. 011-30-9501-3 a/n Yayasan Bhakti Luhur

In US$

Bank: ABN-AMRO, Jalan Pemuda No.54, PO. BOX 1850 Surabaya (60018) INDONESIA
Account number : 41.13.144

19 Comments on “Bhakti Luhur & Henkjan Smits”

  1. Ross says:

    What a pleasant, different post. No railing, no bitching, just humanity! If all IM readers sent them ten bucks, I reckon it would be useful.

  2. madrotter says:

    Thanks Ross, you’ve got that right!!! I’m incredibly impatient now, waiting for the news that I can come to Malang again…

  3. bs says:

    Great article Madrotter, and great work!

    My wife is from Malang, and I’ve been to poor schools there in the past. These were schools with non-handicapped poor children (not the wisma’s you describe) and even there I left with pain in my heart. I admire your courage of facing this misery and contributing to fix it, it’s not easy.

  4. bs says:

    If all IM readers sent them ten bucks, I reckon it would be useful.

    I’m happy to chip in.

  5. madrotter says:

    thanks! strangly enough it’s a lot of fun! those kids are very, very happy there! and i loved malang, so clean and beautiful, so different to the garbage-city that bandung has become, hopefully i will spent lots of time there in the near future…

  6. hircus says:

    Nice post! Small correction — Romo is actually Javanese for “Father”, so Father Romo is a redundant construction.

  7. bs says:

    Yes, Malang is great. One day I hope to spend my pension there. Bukit Tidar or Batu is nice and cool.

    I might be able to persuade people at a local university (near Sawojajar in Malang) to send their English students for OJT to the charity. I don’t know if it will work, but I think it’s worth a try. In what part of Malang are the places you described?

  8. paul says:

    Hey Brother, nice work!
    Good story, good pics, you told the story exactly as it was, i know because I was there with you.
    Keep up the good spirit. I am proud to see my big brother is going to take care of these kids and faces the challenges on the way.
    He is doing it from the heart, and that is what counts.

    Keep up Henkie!!


  9. madrotter says:

    wahahaha now i got my brother posting here!!! never thought that would happen! i love you man! didn’t know that romo means father, never too old to learn i guess…

    not sure which part of malang it was i was there for only two days but sending students to teach there might be a good idea maybe you should contact the good people of bhakti luhur about that?

  10. Ross says:

    Oke, madrotter, send us details of their bank account number etc., and those of us who wish can do the deed. a pm will do, thanks.if there are concerns about publishing it.

  11. madrotter says:

    i was talking about that with patung, because there is no info on the bhakti luhur website about donations, i will call to holland today, see what i can find out ok!

  12. David says:

    I had another look at their website, the English version just says

    Head Office of The Organization ” Bhakti Luhur” :

    Jl. Seruni No. 8 Malang 65141

    Telp. (0341) 491672

    Fax. (0341) 491173

    But the ID version:

    Nama Bank : BCA BANK Malang
    Alamat : Jln. JEND.BASUKI RAHMAT No.70-74,Malang
    No.Rek. 011-30-9501-3 a/n Yayasan Bhakti luhur

    ABN-AMRO BANK, Jalan Pemuda No.54, PO. BOX 1850 Surabaya (60018) INDONESIA
    Account number : 41.13.144 in US$

  13. madrotter says:

    wow! you are incredible patung! that was quick!

  14. Ross says:

    Yeah, I checked their letter-head to no avail, but BCA is easy for me. Thx for that!

  15. Chris says:

    Thanks Madrotter,
    For your informative and positive article about how we can help other.

    It actually reminds me of another from a couple of years ago:
    Expat Charitable Work by Purba Negoro. The promised future regular postings about other charities never appeared, but it didn’t matter because there is a link to them in the article.

    I once tried previously to put in a subtle plug for a charity in a posting (here if you’re wondering). Unfortunately, the only comment I got related to that part of the article was negative… I’m not sure why. Regardless, I am happy that this article got a larger and more positive response.

  16. bs says:

    Good work Patung!
    I have an account at the same BCA branch

  17. madrotter says:

    checking those links… interesting comments by purba negoro…

  18. Ayu putri says:

    Sorry, I send this email not for become donature….:)
    Actually I need a help from you, how to apply become the student in Father Yansen Rehabilitation in Malang. i Have My brother which Have special need. My brother doesnt have a complete legs and he now already 17 years old and we feeling late in giving the help for him. I really need your information about where is the place and how to apply to become the student there.

    Warm regard

    Ayu putri

  19. madrotter says:

    Well, it’s across Dieng Plaza, Bhakti Luhur, I think Ibu Susi in administration will be able to give you further information….

    I’m sure they will be able to do something for your brother…..


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