House of Imported Hearts Q & A

Interview with Raissa [pictured on left with her family, the House of Imported Hearts founders]

1. Tell me about yourself and your background. Why are you interested in nonprofit work?

I grew up in a family that has a passion for aiding others. My parents are pastors, and they taught me to always grateful for what I have and to never forget to help those who are in need.

2. What is the House of Imported Hearts?

In the Indonesian language, House of Imported Hearts is Rumah Buah Hati- a place for where your hearts (people you love) dwell, as well as a shelter and refuge for those who might need it.

We started the House of Imported Hearts as an orphanage for children who are abandoned and come from poverty.

3. What inspired you to begin the organization?

We know that there are many children on the street who cannot go to school, are incredibly poor, have no future, and go begging instead. We all felt sorry for the children, but most of us didn’t know what to do until one day my mom met one of her old friends. Her friend runs a large orphanage in another city called Semarang.

After learning about this orphanage, we started thinking that it was an amazing idea and that it fits well with our church and charity work.

4. Where do the children come from?

The children came from Surabaya – a city 8 hours from Yogyakarta – and around Yogyakarta itself. Surabaya has the biggest prostitution area in South East Asia, and we want to save these children from that awful environment.

5. Why does Yogyakarta need an orphanage?

The amount of children who work as beggars on the street has increased. Even when you’re just stopping at a traffic light, you can see countless children who have to beg because either their parents have forced them to, or their families don’t have any money to send them to school.

The orphanages that are owned by the government can’t cover all of these problems.

6. What do you hope to achieve with the House of Imported Hearts?

We want the children that we help to learn how to appreciate their lives and the support we’ve been able to provide for them. We also want them to learn how to become sustainable; we hope to teach them how to attain good grades, help us with housework, learn how to cook, sew, etc. Although these ideas seem small, we hope that the skills they learn at the House of Imported Hearts will be useful in the future when they become independent and productive citizens. We also hope that when these children grow up, they can help other people in need and help build a better future and society. We want to help them avoid the paths that their environment often forces them to take- prostitution, begging, pick pocketing, etc.

7. What changes have you seen in the children since you have taken them in?

Since the children have arrived in my house, they have changed tremendously. They’re all healthy, take care of each other (we have a new member who’s only 3 years old, and the other children adore him), and have learned how to read and write. While these actions seem basic, they’re extremely important skills for children of their ages.

8. How can we help?

We feel incredibly grateful because we’ve had a tremendous amount of support: many people stop by our house and give food, money, second hand clothes, books, stationary for the children, etc.

We’re still in the process of establishing our organization, so we can use any help we can get. If you are interested in assisting us in any way, please contact us at

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Within Arms Reach is made up of enthusiastic individuals giving their time, energy, love, and life away to make a difference in the world.

We always operate on a firm budget, with very few staff and hundreds of resilient volunteers. Our primary budgets are simply designed to fund the projects.
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