The goal of Project “Kehidupan Anda” Indonesian for “Your Life” is to improve the education of the children in the village Tongkeina and the surrounding villages. How we are doing that? You can read that on the next pages.
My name is Simone Gerritsen. I was born in Amsterdam on the 18th of October 1953. In November 1996 I moved to Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi in Indonesia to take up the job of general manager and operator of Dive Center Thalassa, now one of the leading dive centers in the area.
After a couple of years living here and learning about the way of life, I found that my position as a manager, the fact that I am a foreigner and the fact that I can communicate in different languages gave me the opportunity to do more than running a dive center. Helping is of course a selfish act. It makes you feel better; about yourself and about your life. So I became selfish and with a lot of help from the Thalassa Team and guests of the dive center we have been able to help the local community.
Although the people of North Sulawesi are not poor in terms of not having enough to eat, they are not rich either. The past year while the Rupiah devaluated, the economy changed rapidly for the area and especially the families in the villages suffered; there was/is not enough work, not enough medical help and there are not enough schools. You could say I am “a fool for education” because it is my strong believe, that just through education the future of children can change, from being a farmer or an unemployed drunk, to a skilled and knowledgeable person, with fair chances to get a proper job and salary. For this reason I adopted for the projects the Chinese expression:“Give a child a fish, and you feed it for a day; Teach a child to fish, and you will feed it for the rest of its life”