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Different, But By No Means Disabled

Twelve Physically Challenged Kids Conquer Bali's Jungles with Outward Bound.


(11/19/2007)

Twelve physically-challenged youngsters faced a bevy of physical and mental challenges during a two-day Outward Bound "Leadership and Motivation" program November 7Ė8, 2007 at the Outward Bound Indonesia's Center in Payangan, Ubud, Bali. Deserving young men and women were chosen by Rotary Club and Outward Bound Indonesia (OBI) based on their past achievements, leadership qualities and service to the community.

The objectives of this unique Outward Bound Program are to promote a can-do attitude, self-confidence, self-worth, service to community, and leadership among the participants. The scholarship recipients were exposed to physical and mental challenges that might be considered daunting even to the more able-bodied, let along those mislabeled by society a "disabled." And, according to the instructors, the challenges laid before the group were not modified for this group, who undertook exercises offered to all Outward Bound participants. These activities included abseiling down a 20-meter-high rock face; and confidence testing, in which the kids climbed up a 7-meter pole, screamed their personal goals and then jumped off as they tried to hit a hanging ball.

Every One Has a Story

V.R. Maria De Sousa Mariano, or as he is better known to his friends as "Tete", was born in 24 years ago with no right are and a shortened left arm that hosts three malformed fingers. A diminutive 1.4 meters in height, Tete complains that people often can't see past his "disability."

A young poet, who aspires to be a politician, Tete did the 7 meter high confidence jump by equating his fear of jumping with his long-standing fear of meeting new people who might ridicule him. He claims the two-day course in Ubud's jungle has now changed his life, empowering this young man who possesses a very big heart with a new realization of his unexplored potential and a brand new perspective on life. An inspiration to fellow participants and instructors alike, Tete's agility and enthusiasm will serve him well as he lives his dream of helping other physically challenged men and women gain their rightful place in society.

Tete's story is just one of twelve from a group who reveled at the opportunities for self-discovery offered by the Outward Bound experience. There was I Ketut Gede New Jatina, 23, a young man from Bali, who lost a leg in a traffic accident; polio sufferers with dysfunctional limbs; people with prosthetic limbs; and a talented young painter born without hands and only one leg.

Outward Bound Indonesia

In reviewing the successful and inspiring program undertaken by the twelve, Djoko Kusumowidagdo, Founder and CEO of Outward Bound Indonesia said, "We primarily wanted to work on the participants' self-esteem, because it is the most critical problem physically challenged people deal with. When you have a good self-perception, you will be happy with yourself and everything else will fall into place."

Outward Bound Indonesia was founded in 1990 and ever since has proven itself a passionate and proactive member of Indonesian society by giving scholarships to hundreds of underprivileged people, such as the blind, the physically challenged, teachers and youth at risk. Earlier this year, Outward Bound Indonesia formed an official collaborative humanitarian movement called OBI Care (read: "OB I Care") that brings together different corporations who sponsor those less fortunate to participate in the Leadership and Empowerment Program.

Djoko explained, "The goal of these humanitarian projects is to give those who are less fortunate the opportunity to discover and develop themselves, so they can help better themselves, others and the community around them. It's also a chance for them to realize that they are valuable contributor to society, that they possess the same, or more strength and potential as others."

In 2008, OBI Care will introduce a Leadership and Empowerment scholarship program for the deaf and the blind.

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