Comprising approximately 17,508 islands and over 238 million people, Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country. 58% of the population lives on Java, the world’s most populous island. Despite having abundant natural resources, poverty remains widespread in Indonesia. People with disabilities are sadly considered an embarrassment. A significant struggle faced by people with disabilities is the belief that their disabilities are a punishment from God for sin. In Java and Bali in particular, a person with a disability is believed to be possessed by a supernatural spirit which must be exorcised.
Yakkum Rehabilitation Center was started in 1982 by an inspirational and driven New Zealander, Colin McLennan. From a small start Yakkum is now a major complex that has helped over 10,000 people build skills and live independently. Yakkum’s prosthetics factory turns out limbs and adapts bicycles and motorbikes to give people with disabilities mobility. It also has a small factory producing wooden toys and artwork. Nearly half of their workforce are persons with disabilities.