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Indonesian Silent Heroes

Updated on June 14, 2011

These people are really amazing, they really have hearts for disabled people in Indonesia. They're not wealthy or extraordinary people, just a simple person with extraordinary heart. Indonesia call them the silent heroes. These are "abnormal" people, people who have dreams, strong visions, even if they have to sacrifice their comfortable life.

Sister Gisella Borrowka
Sister Gisella Borrowka

1. We have Sister Gisella Borrowka

Sister Gisella Borrowka has dedicated her life to help leprosy people in Lembata, East Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. People in Lembata call her as "Mama Putih" or "The White Mama" because Sister Gisella has been mother to every leprosy patient in Lembata.

Sister Gisella is not an Indonesian, she was born in Neisse, Germany, on August 25, 1934. She definitely will get a better future or choices in her own country, but no, she did not choose that. In 1963, she decided to visit Lembata, a little village with bad roads, no electricity, bad sanitation, and other bad things. She taught people in Lembata that leprosy is not a curse from Heaven.

She taught them that leprosy can be healed by proper medications and treatments, and that we can not left people with leprosy behind. And for years, Sister Gisella fought for the leprosy people. Days by days Gisella and Isabella (Isabella Diaz Gonzales, a nurse, her best friend )cared the leprosy. Gisella said that this job has made her happy. Every time a leprosy victim came to their place, asking for medicine. And later the leprosy victim decided to live with Gisella since they didn’t have any place in society as they had been separated from their families.

She got help from Isabella Diaz Gonzales or "Mama Hitam" ("The Black Mama") both ladies are taking care of the leprosy, and it's not an easy job to do. It's scary, to watch the feet or any part of leprosy people wounded and they did not realise it. They did not know if mouse came and bit their arms and legs. Gisella gave them socks. In the morning the socks were lost because the mouse took the socks away.

After a while, the number of leprosy patients in Lembata decreased significantly and Sister Gisella took the healed patients to go with her to visit other leprosy just to give them an evidence, that leprosy can be healed. And not just that, Sister Gisella built a leprosy hospital in Lembata, in December 1968, "Damian Leprosy Hospital" Why Damian? Because Father Damian de Veustes SSCC was her hero. Father Damian also took care of leprosy victims in Molokai for 16 years, Hawaii. Even if Father Damian had to die because of leprosy in Molokai.

Sister Gisella built a group of theater performance called Padma Theater, all the actors were her ex-leprosy patients. The group made performances from village to village and from town to town, to explain about leprosy.

Not just the Damian Leprosy Hospital, Sister Gisella also built Damian Orphan House.

She's just an angel in far far east island in my country, people in Lembata know her name better than local officer names such as Governor, etc. And I really appreciate her and from the depth of my heart, Thank You Sister. God Bless You.

"Leprosy can be healed
Let them live with us
They're also God's image
God love all of us
Don't hurt their hearts,
They've already been hurt
Leprosy is not just physically illness
but also a wounded heart."

(Gisella Borrowka)

Mr. Gendu Mulatif
Mr. Gendu Mulatif

2. Mr. Gendu Mulatif

This man is one extraordinary and "crazy" man. He is 96 years old now and the founder of Galuh Foundation in East Bekasi, Indonesia. The Foundation for patients with mental health conditions.

He used to call as Baba Gendu or Daddy Gendu, and first, he just built a security post in every part in his neighborhood. And not for long, many people with mental health disorder used to stay in his security post, so he took them to his own house and tried to take care them.

People in Indonesia still believe black magic, so there is much ignorance over mental health issues. In 2007, 4.6% of the nation suffered from serious mental disorders in a country which population about 230 million more. There are only 700 psychiatrists across 48 psychiatric hospitals available to help people with mental health disorders.

With that statistic, sufferers believed they affected by black magic.

But Mr.Gendu Mulatif believed, that he can heal or at least make the patients better with pray, advices, medications, and massages. He said, "The key are patience, honest, humble, generous, and wise. That's the keys to take care of those people."

Although he needs a wheelchair now, Mr. Gendu Mulatif and his family still taking care of people with mental health disorder.

3. Mr. Sugeng Siswoyudono

He lost one of his leg from an accident in 1981. Now, this 45 years old man from Mojosari, Mojokerto, East Java, Indonesia make a prosthetic leg to support everybody who also lost their leg.

First, he made it for himself then he decided to make other people prosthetic legs and hands with very low costs in his workshop.

His actions stimulate the 1000 prosthetic legs movement. Physically, Mr. Sugeng is a disabled man, but not his mind and spirit. He inspire many people with his persistence and hard working.

Mr. Sugeng Siswoyudono with Mr. Andy F. Noya (Metro TV Anchor)
Mr. Sugeng Siswoyudono with Mr. Andy F. Noya (Metro TV Anchor)


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    • DropsOfRain profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, its those people that the world needs more of. An inspirational piece for sure...and I hope we can all learn from this and truly try to be silent heroes.


    • febriedethan profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Hi Micky Dee, you're welcome, I'm really honored, thank you and have a great day!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Dear Febriedethan- your hubs are so important! Thank you Ma'am!

    • febriedethan profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Dewanto, yes he is. Thank you for visiting!

      Brother Dave, true and also a great blessing for us, God bless you :)

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      9 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      A woman with such compassion for others is truly a saint.

      Brother Dave.

    • dewanto profile image


      9 years ago from Jakarta

      I've seen Mr. Sugeng and he is very incredible!

      he and the other are really hero, indeed.

    • febriedethan profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      Happyher, you're welcome and thank you for visiting!

      Revlady, yes Ma'am, it's become our hope in the world. Thank you for supporting, God Bless you.

      Agus, hi! yes, I knew them from Kick Andy talkshow, and there are still many people do great and unbelievable things, such a blessing.

      Hello,hello, you're welcome, I feel blessed by them too, they are really great, honorable people. Thank you for visiting!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      A most wonderful tribute I ever read of such great people. Thank you for giving me that pleasure.

    • agusfanani profile image


      9 years ago from Indonesia

      This a great hub, I didn't know there were those people who had done noble deeds.

    • RevLady profile image


      9 years ago from Lantana, Florida

      It is always uplifting to know that honorable helping people are all over the world. A thoughtful tribute to a servants of mankind.

      Forever His,

    • HappyHer profile image

      Tracy Morrow 

      9 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I love to hear about people doing such wonderful services for their fellow being. Thank you for a heart warming hub!


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