During the Indonesian occupation of East Timor up to 4,000 young East Timorese children were taken to Indonesia by individuals and organisations. Some of these children have returned home, while others still live in Indonesia. Many of these children, raised as Indonesians, know little about their biological families in East Timor. Most do not have the resources to trace their families.
There are also many parents and families in East Timor who would like to find their missing children.
During the occupation it was difficult for children and families to try to trace each other. Since independence for East Timor and the end of the New Order in Indonesia it has become easier.
The aim of the Istóriaku website is to:
- Provide information about child transfers out of East Timor
- Share stories from East Timorese children and parents
- Help those who were taken from East Timor as children better to understand the situation that led to their transfer
- Be a forum where East Timorese transferred as children can support each other by exchanging information and discussing issues of identity and adoption
- Help those who think they may have been transferred from East Timor, where we can; however, we do not have funds to organise tracings and reunions
The co-founders of Istóriaku are Helene van Klinken and Achnesia Felina Manganang.
Helene van Klinken: I wrote a PhD dissertation about child transfers out of East Timor. It has been published as a book, ‘Making them Indonesians: Child transfers out of East Timor’. Many of the stories related here I collected during research for my thesis. I support this initiative. In a democratic and civilized society such as Indonesia children have the right to know their birth identity.
Achnesia Felina Manganang: My name is Achnesia Felina Manganang, but people usually call me Anis. As one of the East Timorese children who were separated from my biological family, my heart was moved to help / facilitate other friends with similar experience through this website. Presently, my two young children and I live in Germany, where my husband is working.
Were you born in East Timor and taken to Indonesia when young?
Do you know an East Timorese who was transferred to Indonesia as a child?
Do you want to share your story?
If so, please go to the Indonesian version of this website and contact those in Jakarta who are working on this initiative. You can contact Helene via her blog on this English version of Istóriaku (in either English or Bahasa Indonesia) and Anis via the Indonesian language version of Istóriaku.