Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Bali, in Indonesia, a country where handicapped children are often treated very badly.Website for this image

In parts of Indonesia, children with deformities are said to be occupied by 'bad' spirits.

"An embarrassment to families, some are locked away.

"In the most extreme cases, they're abandoned, left to fend for themselves.

"That's what led to the search for Putu and Alit two years ago."

Barbie on the shores of Lake Batur / Indonesian sisters change their lives with Barbie

Putu and Alit, from Bali, who are physically handicapped. Website for this image  Restiti and Alit / I’m an Angel visit to remote Songan Bali school

Putu and Alit live on the Indonesian island of Bali.

They have deformed limbs.

For much of their lives they have been hidden in their run-down shack.

Putu and Alit, "have felt invisible most of their lives, hidden in a run-down shack because they were born with deformed limbs with twisted limbs some believe were caused by evil spirits.

"They were kept out of school and had no friends."

Their father had deserted the family.

Sakti Soediro, a volunteer with a group that helps disabled kids, knew from hospital records that Putu and Alit had had difficult births.

But then they had disappeared.

"We were determined to find out what happened," said Soediro.

Sakti searched the island and eventually found the girls in a village in Bali's interior, where many people live in extreme poverty.

(The islands hotels are said to be mainly owned by the billionaire Suharto family)

Neighbors were not aware that the girls existed; as they had been hidden away.

Girls on Java.

Sakti gave the girls some dolls.

When Sakti returned, she found that the girls had sewn wonderful miniature dresses, sarongs and shirts for the dolls.

Sakti has now helped the girls sell the dresses in shops - making up to $70 a month, enough to help feed the family.

The girls now have friends.

Neighborhood kids come to see the clothes made for the dolls.

"They just want to be our friends," Putu says.

West Java

Alit has very poor health.

"On the day The Jakarta Post visited, Alit was very ill, her breathing labored and her temperature high."

Indonesia's often corrupt health care system is among the worst in the world, particularly for the poor.

The girls' mother says: "We have a medical card for the local clinic, but I rarely use the clinic because so often the cards are wrong. The staff puts the wrong birth date or name on the cards and then next time, they won’t accept them."

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