Kids get fresh start at Batam orphanage

From left: Orphanage co-founders Chandra Setiadji, Monalisa Chan, Nicole Ng (seated) and Sheela Zee all have full-time jobs in Singapore but were determined to set up the orphanage. They make the trip to Batam weekly to visit the children, give them
From left: Orphanage co-founders Chandra Setiadji, Monalisa Chan, Nicole Ng (seated) and Sheela Zee all have full-time jobs in Singapore but were determined to set up the orphanage. They make the trip to Batam weekly to visit the children, give them a listening ear and manage any issues.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Madam Sheela Zee (left) and Madam Nicole Ng with some of the children from Mentari Dunia orphanage in Batam. The home has 15 children from Indonesia's Papua province - 12 girls and three boys aged 10 to 14.
Madam Sheela Zee (left) and Madam Nicole Ng with some of the children from Mentari Dunia orphanage in Batam. The home has 15 children from Indonesia's Papua province - 12 girls and three boys aged 10 to 14.PHOTO: DON CHI

Co-founders set up home for kids from Papua whose families are unable to care for them

Jerita Saibori used to sleep under a roof made of palm leaves and take her bath in the river. Living in the remote jungles of Indonesia's Papua province, the then six-year-old and her family had no electricity or running water. The city was some two days away by speedboat.

Four years ago, she and 14 other Papuan children given up by families too poor to feed them got a fresh start when four Singaporeans set up an orphanage for them in Batam.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2018, with the headline 'Kids get fresh start at Batam orphanage'. Print Edition | Subscribe