12/12/2022, 12.16
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Archdiocese of Jakarta hosts a Christmas concert for the indigenous people of Papua

by Mathias Hariyadi

Initiative supported by professionals. All funds will go to the diocese of Agats, in a remote area of Indonesia where the indigenous Papuan population lives. So far, development aid has enabled the training of 36 teachers in Java.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - In recent days the Profesional Usahawan Katolik Keuskupan Agung Jakarta (Pukat Kaj), the community of professionals and entrepreneurs of the capital's archdiocese, held a concert entitled "The Magic of Christmas", the proceeds of which will be used to help the indigenous Asmat population of the diocese of Agats, southern Papua province.

For at least 10 years, the Archdiocese of Jakarta, also through its humanitarian committee (Panitia Peduli Keuskupan Agats, Ppka) has been investing in the development of the region. 

Agats is located in a remote forested area. It takes five to nine hours to reach it by speedboat through large crocodile-infested rivers. Due to the lack of basic health services and qualified teachers, infant mortality is very high and education almost non-existent: adolescents often cannot read, write or do arithmetic, because from an early age they are sent by their parents to gather food in the forest. 

It is in this context that the Jakarta Archdiocese's development aid, both financially and through the training of the Asmat population, fits in. For more than a decade, Ppka has been sending Asmat youths to Java to return to Agats as teachers after they have graduated. At least 36 people have so far made this journey.

"We are very grateful for the tremendous generosity of the Archdiocese of Jakarta, which, through Pukat Kaj and Ppka, has always provided special funds to the Asmat congregation in the field of education, creating scholarships for young people, giving funds for the education of our seminarians, and through technical assistance and local vocational training centres," said the Bishop of Agats, Bishop Aloysius Murwito, a Franciscan friar who has headed the diocese since 2002. "Pukat Kaj is our angel because our pastoral works can function thanks to their help".

At the Christmas concert, held on 10 December, the Twilite Orchestra performed together with some singers, including Ary Kirana, Regina Handoko, and Jordan Basa. "We started preparing this show eight months ago," Aloysius Setyo Handoyo Singgih of Pukat Kaj explained to AsiaNews. "The proceeds will be entirely paid to the diocese of Agats."

The regency of Asmat, where Agats is located, was founded in 1938 as a Dutch outpost. Every year, the Asmat Festival is organised in the town, an internationally renowned cultural event, during which visitors from all over the world can admire the carved wooden works of the local natives.

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