'Weta Gerak' Light of Women in Indonesia

"WETA GERAK" (Light of Women)

The Challenges 

Indonesia is the major source  country and to a lesser extent, a destination and transit country for women, girls and men who are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour. East Nusa Tenggara is one of the most economically poor provinces of Indonesia.  It comprises hundreds of islands, including Flores, Sumba and western Timor.  Many people from East Nusa Tenggara go to Malaysia and other Islands in Indonesia seeking employment.  They are often unskilled, undocumented and with limited education.  Therefore, most men work in palm oil plantations under exploitative conditions.  Women and girls mostly find employment in domestic work.  

For wives and children who remain at home, they do not know when their husbands/fathers will return.  They know the risks they face as undocumented migrants with communication difficulties and the possibility of becoming trapped in debt bondage.  

What did the Sisters do?

The Sisters of the Good Shepherd gathered the wives of Migrants together to provide education and skills training, consciousness raising and microcredit opportunity.  They work with twelve groups of women in ten parishes.  Every month there is a formation meeting and meeting of the credit union.  The aim of the meetings is to empower the women to know their rights and to experience their dignity as women and mothers with the capacity to raise their families.

There are four programmes:

1.       Prevention

Consciousness raising and education programme.  Seminars, group discussion, public dialogue and Train the Trainer provide information about trafficking and safe migration, violence against women, gender issues, domestic violence.

2.       Assistance and Support

Supporting the victims of trafficking, domestic violence, child abuse.

3.       Empowering women through income generation

  • Weaving Project. 

  • Pigs Project.

  • Credit union – offering credit to women running small shops, in order to improve their capital base.

4.       Good Shepherd Scholarship

Available to families affected by Migration and single Mother families:  primary to senior high school.

Who manages/administers the programme? 

The Programmes are managed by Sisters of the Good Shepherd and lay Mission Partners.  Sister Theresia Anita Yuniastuti  is the project manager, working in partnership with Mrs Roberta Mutis and Mr Fransiskus Harmin and Mrs Karolina Manggol.

How many people are assisted?

416 women and 200 men.

Who benefits and how do they benefit?

  • The groups of women and children benefit from learning to appreciate their dignity as human beings and to speak out for their rights within a strong patriarchical system.

  • Therefore, Society in general benefits.

Motivation and core values

Compassion and reconciliation are at the heart of Good Shepherd mission and spirit.  Through this project, compassion and reconciliation are being exercised in family integration after repatriation.  Also, counselling and home visits can assist the victims of trafficking to address their painful experiences.

How is the programme evaluated?

Regular team meetings for planning, evaluation and monitoring the programmes.

Evaluation sheets are prepared and circulated at every meeting.   Opportunity for verbal evaluation is provided for those who are illiterate.

How does it contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals

No. 1:  No Poverty.

No. 2:  Zero Hunger.

No. 3:  Good Health & Wellbeing.

No. 4:  Gender Equality. 


Because of geographical distances, the sisters and mission partners need to spend three days in each group.

What would make the project more effective?

More volunteers.

Recruitment and formation of mission partners.

Financial resources.

Better means of transportation.