My name is Val Whyte and I was born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland. I worked in Java as a volunteer for four months in the summer of 2006, finding the people friendly, peaceful and respectful. The children are delightful. In May and July of that year, there were two massive earthquakes and a tsunami. Villages were destroyed, thousands killed, and huge numbers of families were left homeless. I went to assist with the relief work, and when it was time for me to return home I knew I had to continue to do something to help.
I joined forces with six young Indonesian men belonging to the local environmentalist group, FKPA BANDUNG, and our aim is to help the children. These volunteers give their time and energy to helping the needy children of their country, and without their help I could not work or live in Indonesia. Many times the guys act as bodyguards when we work in remote villages.
Our first project was to build and equip the FlyFree Centre which was used as a shelter and school. All the children at the centre are now back with family members, so the building is used full time for education.
We teach computer study and English on a daily basis, we also have 2 kinder garden classes started in 2010. All education is free for the poorer families. Our aim is to help them to help themselves – education is the way forward. Our students at FlyFree school are taught to a high standard and we are proud to announce that 60% of our leaving students have jobs. This is an amazing record in Java, especially for kids from remote villages. We are trying to set up a similar arrangement for the street kids of Bandung.
We have formed a committee to raise funds in Scotland and we get a lot of help from Inverurie Rotary Club, Inverurie Academy and many others who give their time to organise fun runs, open days, etc. To make these generous contributions go further, we invest some of the money in schemes which provide continuous funding. We have bought a coconut grove, selling coconuts every month with funds going to the school. Our farm project has also been a great success – kind contributors in Scotland buy a cow which we raise and fatten for one year before selling at a profit. We now have 14 cows and are expanding the scheme to include goats, sheep and poultry.
In February 2012, my dear friend and trustee of the charity, Marilyn Roger died of cancer. I miss her very much.
When I became involved with helping the children in Java, Marilyn immediately became involved and threw herself into the task with enthusiasm and energy. She did most of the secretarial work and was tireless in fundraising. She visited me in Java and saw first hand some of the results of her hard work.
Marilyn’s family wish to continue her work with the charity. Her husband Billy has been out to Java to help directly in organising the relief team and purchasing new buildings, land and equipment. Her children Casey, Brook, Brady and Chelsea have all thrown themselves into the work their mother started, taking on roles in organising, fundraising, design and I.T.
Thank you and rest in peace, Marilyn. There are many children who will grow up with better lives because of you.
Useful Information Charity Name: Safe Haven Projects Charity Number: SC041905 Registered charity from: 19/11/2010 Registered address : The Rowans Alvah Banff Aberdeenshire AB54 3UJ Bank account: A/C Name: Safe Haven Projects A/C No.: 00793828 Sort Code: 83-23-05