Blog: The Kolewa foundation

When a young girl (Heldi), burned by an exploding oil lamp, has no life for 12 years because she lived in complete isolation, it breaks your heart.


Shy and timid they found Heldi in a poor part of Indonesia.  When she was twelve an oil lamp at her home exploded and her body burned badly. Parts of her body melted together and she couldn’t close her mouth anymore because her underlip was melted to her chest. And if you think it could be worse? Yes, it could be worse. There was no money to operate Heldi and she was ashamed of herself. The consequence was that she was living in isolation for twelve years without love and without friends. When love is the thing a girl of that age and an accident like that, could really use and deserves.

Heldi Surgery


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A better life for Heldi

Fortunately, Heldi was found after twelve years by the Kolewa foundation. They could help her physically and mentally to give her the love she deserves. Slowely she got her life back. Heldi undergone the biggest surgeries by now and looks much better physically and mentally. Step by step she gets her face back. She is now smiling, dancing, cooking and helps with guiding the other children the Kolewa foundation hosts. Besides Heldi, each child had his own intriguing story where we, child by child, could write a blog about.


There was another girl with a heart of gold. She not only has Down's syndrome but also a condition which we hardly hear about in our Western world. Syahra is her name.


On Friday Syahra walked into the shelter of Kolewa. While other children are often shy and anxious to come in and have to get used to living here, this was not the case for Sagra. The 6 year old girl entered the building with smile on her face and she waved to everyone to say hi. After a few minutes she sat on the ground with a baby. She played with the baby and immediately started to cuddle. She was used within minutes, and the gaiety of Syahra melted each of our hearts. Until she showed her disease..



anus atresia


Anus atresia

Syahra pulled her shirt up and a long piece of intestine, coming out of her belly, appeared. Syahra not only had the Down Syndrome but she also had a closed anus. Something we had never heard of. Most children who are born with a closed anus, get an operation to solve this immediately after birth. When a family has no money to pay for this operation, there are two options. The child will not be treated and dies or they will make a hole in the stomach that functions as a substitute anus. In some cases, a part of the intestine like Syahra. Fortunately, Syahra will undergo a surgery soon to recover it. Although she already looks very happy, her life will be a lot more comfortable after the surgery.

Thanks to the Kolewa foundation Heldi, Syahra and many others got the chance to get a better life. They now look forward to a better future. Are you curious about the projects we visited? Read below.

Our Program during our stay at Kolewa

We were a few days at the shelter home of the Kolewa foundation where we heard all the special stories of the children. Besides, we visited different projects of Kolewa with the local staff, volunteers and interns.

 Shelter home Kolewa Shelter home Kolewa

Schools & speech therapy

One of the schools we visited was a special hearing school where Kolewa placed four children. The kids could not wait to show us their dance and show their names in sign language. Besides giving appropriate lessons, the families receive speech therapy to inform them about how to stimlute and communicate with their children.

The other school we visited was located in the slumps inside the garbage center of Bali. They build a village on the garbage dump where the people work and live. The families and the children earn money by sorting the garbage and recycling it. When we entered the garbage center we were welcomed by flies and the smell of garbage. There is a kindergarten, where children get free lessons with the help of donations, including donations from Kolewa. Once a week, employees and interns of Kolewa are giving the children English class.

Speech therapy Karangasem slumps bali garbage center Kolewa


Besides visiting the schools we went to the hospital with the staff to bring the  patients and to visit them after their surgery. Hospitals look reasonable, but without airconditioning in the room, it is 30 degrees celsius. The temperature would be hard for us but the locals are used to it.

Thanks to the Kolewa foundation Heldi and many others have been given the chance of a better life. They now look forward to a better future. They can use help from individuals and companies. Are you touched by this story and the foundation and would you like to support them? Check out the different possibilties to help on this page or visit the website of Kolewa. Here you will also find more information about the Kolewa foundation. 

             Cleft lip surgery

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