UNESCO Present the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for Cultural Heritage 2012 to the Wae Rebo Community in Jakarta, 23 March 2013
Jakarta – Mr. Masanori Nagaoka, Head of Culture Unit of UNESCO Office Jakarta attended the celebration night of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award 2012 winner, the Wae Rebo Traditional House, and presented the Award to the representative of the Wae Rebo community in a Gala Event organised by Tirto Utomo Foundation, Rumah Asuh, and Danone Aqua on Saturday, 23 March 2013.
This event gathered some 90 attendees including villagers of Wae Rebo, Rumanh Ashu Foundation (an implementer of the rehabilitation work of the Wae Rebo village), Ministries of Education and Culture, People’s Welfare, Forestry, donors including Danone, academia, media and so forth.
The 2012 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation has honoured Wae Rebo village an Award of Excellence as recognition of the local community efforts to restore and conserve structures and buildings of the unique mbaru niang houses despite any difficulties and challenges. The restoration and protection of Wae Rebo’s heritage was accomplished with the support of a community-led reconstruction project initiated by Tirto Utomo Foundation and Rumah Asuh. The project has successfully re-established the sustainability of the built environment whilst fostering the community’s pride and unity.
Wae Rebo Village, located in the Manggarai Flores District in East Nusa Tenggara Province, is the only village in the entire district which still hosts the complete village structure including the traditional houses (mbaru niang house –a cone shaped house with massive roof made of layers of palm leaves and wooden structure), a drum house as symbol of the unity of the clan and communal building as well as the stone altar compang, where the souls of the ancestors are believed to stay. The village and its traditional houses were endangered due to the degrading resources to renovate and rebuild the damage structures.
The Award presenting programme was followed by a short film screening about the Penti ceremony –a celebration of the beginning of the harvest season and the construction of the Mbaru Niang houses, and a charity event for the preservation of the Wae Rebo’s cultural heritage.
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