Wed, 24 Jul 1996

S'pore hotel funds orphanage renovation

JAKARTA (JP): The renovation of the Muhammadiyah orphanage in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, was officially completed yesterday.

The two-month renovation project cost Rp 78.4 million (US$33,757) and was funded by Singapore's Sedona Hotels International.

"It is an honor for us to receive a donation from an international company wanting to help improve the welfare of our children," Adeng Nurdin, vice president of the orphanage, said in a humble ceremony to mark the reopening of the orphanage.

Sedona president George A. Huels said the company has a long- term commitment to becoming one of the Muhammadiyah foundation's "foster fathers".

"The renovation is our first step to providing kids with a better place to live. Our long-term projects will include the procurement of equipment and the creation of programs for the kids," Huels said, adding that his is the first international hotel chain to commit resources to helping local orphans.

"It is hoped that other international hotel chains will be encouraged to pay attention to the people in a place where they do business," he said.

The company has also donated money for an orphanage in Padang, West Sumatra.

Sedona runs hotels on Bintan Island and in Padang and will open two more in Ujungpandang, South Sulawesi, and in Manado, North Sulawesi.

Sedona provides financial support and management expertise for the orphanage as well as educational and career development opportunities for the children, who range from seven to 16 years old.

The Muhammadiyah orphanage in Tanah Abang was established 60 years ago by the Muhammadiyah Tanah Abang group. In l936, the group's members rented a small house in the Kebon Kacang area, Central Jakarta, to take care of six orphans. The orphans were moved to another modest house on Jl. K.H. Wahid Hasyim also in Central Jakarta. In l952, the orphanage was moved to its present location on Jl. K.H. Mansyur. The building was in very poor condition until last October, when Sedona began providing money for renovation purposes.

Currently, the foundation takes care of 96 orphans, 37 of whom are in its Tanah Abang house and the rest at its Sawangan (Bogor) orphanage.

The four-story building in Tanah Abang also functions as an education center for hundreds of children from around the neighborhood. (raw)