Peter Carey: A British Champion for Indonesia’s Disabled Millions

Blessed with visionary leadership, Dr. Peter Carey has for more than two decades geared his philanthropic work toward helping people with disabilities in Southeast Asian countries, particularly Indonesia.

Now the director for research and development at Indonesia’s Cambodia Trust, Carey is involved in statistical research on people with disabilities in Indonesia. This includes the types and causes of disability, the number of patients undergoing amputations and the orthotic and prosthetic services available in the country such as artificial limbs, walking braces and mobility aids.

Peter-Carey-A-British-Champion-for-Indonesia’s-Disabled-Millions“We are building two new schools, one in Solo, Central Java, and the other one is in West Cilandak, Jakarta. The schools will function as training departments for orthotists and prosthetists,” said Carey.

“And for the next development phase, we are slated to build more schools in Medan, Pontianak, Makassar and Bali.”

Carey said he was concerned about the quality of life of disabled people in Indonesia, particularly in rural areas where poverty and an inadequate health care system can leave many with few opportunities.

“At least 1 percent of the whole population in Indonesia are disabled and need orthotic and prosthetic services,” he said.

Looking at Indonesia’s population, the percentage can be translated as 2.4 million people in need of the services. So, improving orthotic and prosthetic services can improve the quality of life and productivity of the disabled,” Peter asserted, adding that the other objective of the presence of Cambodia Trust in Indonesia is to help producing internationally standard orthotists and prosthetists.

Cambodia Trust was founded in 1989 in Oxford by Stan Windaas and John Pedler, and co-founded by Peter. Cambodia was then facing a new Khmer Rouge followed by a series of onslaughts. “In an effort to help Cambodian amputees, we faced the difficulties in the beginning. Our endeavor to build major orthotic and prosthetic projects was impeded by uneasy political situation. Not until late 1980s that we were able to get more funding to continue orthotic and prosthetic projects, in which we managed to extend our outreach work in the districts around Phnom Penh and on the south coast. And in 2000, Cambodia Trust started its international expansion with new projects getting under way in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, East Timor and Indonesia.

The Trust runs prosthetic and orthotic training centers in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, with the aim of giving local rehabilitation specialists the skills needed to improve the mobility of people with disabilities such as landmine survivors and people affected by conditions such as polio and leprosy. The Trust has also established community-based rehabilitation projects in Cambodia and Timor Leste, and has trained local staff to run these services.

On June 12, 2010, Peter was honored a Member of the British Empire (MBE) designation by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to serve people with disability in Southeast Asia while he was the Cambodia Trust’s country director for Indonesia from August 2008 to March 2011.

On June 28, 2011, while taking current post as the Trust’s research and development director for Indonesia, Peter went back to England to receive another MBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Spring Investiture at Buckingham Palace.

Carey was born in Rangoon, Burma, on April 30, 1948. In 1955, he and his family returned to England, where he grew up and studied. He graduated from Trinity College, Oxford in 1969 with a degree in modern history. He continued his education in Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell University in the United States.

“While taking my graduate degree at Cornell, I found Southeast Asia, Indonesia in particular, interesting,” he said. “And in 1970 I moved to Indonesia and started exploring the archipelago.”

Carey, whose wife is Indonesian has written and edited a number of books on the country, including “Indonesia, the Power of Prophecy,” “Prince Diponegoro and the End of an Old Order in Java, 1785-1855” and “The British in Java.”

By Aulia R. Sungkar. Published in The Jakarta Globe, Special Supplement, on July 23, 2011.

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