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Caritas helping to change lives

International

Caritas Australia, along with aid and development agency partners overseas, is helping to change the lives of people living in remote areas of Indonesia - all made possible through funds raised from the annual Project Compassion Lenten Appeal.

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As the appeal enters its second week, Caritas Australia shares the story of Tati.

Tati is a Dayak woman, living in a remote forest of West Kalimantan, Indonesia, with her husband and two of her three children. Her two youngest children go to school nearby while her 19-year-old son lives in a rented room close to his school 60 kilometres away. The family pays for his living-away-from-home expenses, in addition to providing for school expenses.

Tati’s Dayak culture is deeply linked to the rainforest and her family has relied on it for sustenance for generations. Over the last few years, communities which depend on the native forests have seen them shrink, along with vital habitats for endangered orangutans, rhinos and tigers.

Caritas Australia, with its partners Caritas Indonesia – KARINA and the Diocesan Caritas are working with local communities to develop alternative sustainable livelihoods, by training them in eco-tourism activities.

Before Tati joined the Caritas program, she and her husband mainly earned their income from rubber tapping and raising chickens.

Now, Tati has increased her family income ten times over by cooking for tourists and making souvenirs. Her community is also developing a strong financial base so that it can manage its own land.

Around 600 people have directly benefitted from the program so far – with hopes it can be expanded to other districts.

“I hope to continue living with fresh air, clear water, protected forest,” Tati says, “and to be able to pay for my children’s education and that my grandchildren can still enjoy the forest.”

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