I want Newtopia to be of benifit to the society I have become a part of, and that is why I decided that 50% of the online sales, and 100% of all donations, will go back to the main characters of Newtopia and their culture.
I have done some projects in Indonesia over the years, but there is one in particular which you can see parts of in my film.
We built traditional Mentawaian houses on the property of Bang Id in Padang. Actually the cigarette company Lucky Strike had offered Bang Id to renovate his deteriorating café, which is situated nearby a big university in Padang, and is visited by hundreds of students every day. Crazy thing, how these companies are exploiting territories and people where rules and regulations are weak. So, I told Bang Id that if he provided food and shelter, I would provide a fair salary to the Mentawaians for building traditional houses on his property to function as the café. Luckily Bang Id ended up rejecting Lucky Strike!
This was in 2010, and turned out to be very successful, and had great value in terms of cultural exchange between people from Mentawai and Padang. They represent two cultures that in general are not so good-willed towards each other. After one month of working together in Padang everyone gathered insight of each others culture and way of thinking. Impressions shifted.
In the aftermath of this project, Aman Paksa has visited Bang Id on several occasions on his own, and Bang Id has helped family members of Aman Paksa to find jobs in Padang. The café still exists today and is used every day, but the roof now needs to be replaced. Bang Id wants to rebulid the roof, and Aman Paksa wants to help out with this.
Bang Id lacks the funds to pay for this project, and with the current corona-situation, life is quite desperate for many people in Padang. I was told the other day that more people are actually dying because of food-scarcity than covid-19. Parts of the moviesale will be used to pay the Mentawaians fairly in order to build a new roof.
This would be an example of a sustainable economy, as the Mentawaians use sagu-leaves which they have in huge amounts in Mentawai – regenerative materials whithout any destructive effects on nature.
With the money Aman Paksa and the others earn, they can build new traditional houses in Mentawai and secure schooling for their children. Many of the Mentawaians, just like Aman Paksa, find themselves in a difficult situation now.
The Goverment is eager to move the people out of the jungle, and gather them in the villages, but this makes it difficult to maintain their culture. The situation is complex, and there are many factors to be considered, but in many aspects it reminds me of how Norway has treated the Sami People.
The result of moving into the villages is often poverty because of the unability to build an economy based on money and simultaneously maintain their own traditional houses and lifestock.
Usually when buliding houses the Mentawaians get help from other clans which are paid by slaughtering pigs and chickens. The building of traditional houses has therefore become more difficult, as people are now poorer on both ends.
Aman Paksa plans to build his traditional house and I want to help him with this. At the same time, he has changed his attitude towards school over the years, and wants to do everything possible to give his son schooling. This also costs a lot. Aman Paksa has even recently finished and received a diploma from primary school.
Imagine how much good we can do if we manage to collect 100 000 NOK to our Project Fund. I am proud to say that we just passed 50 000 NOK the other day. Please support us ❤️🙏
I am a personal friend of Aman Paksa and considered by them to be part of the clan, and I think it is more than fair that Newtopia also benefits them.
PS: If you have ideas, questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitiate to contact me by replying to this email.
PPS: When time comes, I will go to Indonesia (on my own expense of course). Then you will be able to follow this amazing project in real time.