When tourism slumped embarrassment of post-riot years, 1999, Hellen Sarita de Lima initiated again the regatta Darwin-Ambon, Maluku. Before the riots, this regatta become the Moluccas tourism agenda every year since 1976.
At that time, participants reached 100 sailboat race. However, sailboat race riots make it stop. “Competition sailboats can be a door to tell tourists, Maluku conditions were safe,” said Hellen about the idea of competition that comes from her husband, Alexander de Lima (deceased), skipper (captain on a ship called the screen) during 14 years in the sailboat race Darwin-Ambon.
Sailboat rally itself also be the beginning of the formation of sister city cooperation Darwin-Ambon in 1987. “I helped my husband become regatta steering committee. So, I knew and know who should be contacted in order to race sailboats that can be held longer,” she said.
Even so, the effort that she pioneered since 2003 was not easy. Still negative image attached to the Moluccas. Association of the Darwin-Ambon sailing ship before the riots would not even hold the competition again. They assess the situation in Maluku is not safe.
Associated image of sailing ship was exacerbated by distributing leaflets containing Maluku conditions during the riots in 1999. News sourced from internet spread to the association of other sailboats in Australia. In fact, the condition in 2003 was not as in 1999.
“I do not give up. My intentions and goals is good. I’m sure there will be a way out,” she said. Hellen effort bright spot seen in 2005. At that time, she met the six associations in Australia sailboat. At the meeting, Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association (DBCYA) declares her intention to survey the Moluccas. They want to see first hand the condition of the Moluccas.
Post-survey, August 2005, four sailing vessels sailing from this association from Darwin to Ambon. Sailing in the waters of Maluku, which challenged the ferocious waves made the participants happy sailing vessels. The experience was more complete with the friendliness of the people of Ambon during welcome them on arrival in Ambon.
That experience also made the race sailboats Darwin-Ambon as far as 600 miles longer held regularly every year. The number of participants is increasing from year to year. If initially only four ships, —on-plan competition this year was held late Jull— 17 boats participated. Each vessel contains at least five people. Means about 85 tourists will go to the Moluccas.
“I am pleased to hold the competition, can do something for the people of Maluku,” she said.
To reach an obsession that, Helen spent a lot of money. The reason, almost no funding from the government dole when she initiated or when the regatta is held.
Hellen gait is based on beliefs, Maluku tourism sector will rise up and be able to attract tourists. This is important in order to improve the welfare of the people of Maluku. Based on data from the Tourism Office of Maluku, before the riots in 1999, the number of tourists to the Maluku reaches 14 500 people every year. Post-riots, the number of tourists to the Moluccas 4000-5000.
To boost tourist numbers to visit the Moluccas, she synergize with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to promote one area of Ambon as a cruise ship stopover. In 2008, she had become a member of the delegation of Indonesia to the exhibition cruise ship stopover in Miami, United States. She emphasizes elegance nautical “Sweety Ambon.”
Helen’s love to the world of tourism emerged since the still was in elementary school. “When I was 10 years old, I often wear traditional clothes to greet the tourists from the Netherlands. The experience introduced me to the world for tourism,” she says.
That’s why, even after graduating from college Hellen pursue the other profession, like a lawyer and a contractor, world tourism was never faded from her heart. She also founded a travel agency, also uses the income she earned as a lawyer and a contractor, to pioneer and finance the implementation of sailboat racing Darwin-Ambon.
Her social soul not only appear to the world of tourism with sailboat races held back the Darwin-Ambon. However, her social life was also evident in his activities as a lawyer.
Often she acted as “lawyers without cost” which received a case of poor people. To defend Hellen, they do not have to pay a dime. On the contrary, Hellen sometimes gives the cost to them to return home. Because, they did not have money anymore.
“I do not charge any money or benefits, but they often pay me with cassava, banana, or fruit that they have. I really appreciate their intentions,” she said.
Although busy as a lawyer, contractor, and the tourism industry players, Hellen still have time to engage in non-profit organizations engaged in women empowerment. She will help victims of violence in the Moluccas in order to overcome the trauma of post-riot.
She is also involved in maternal and child protection agency that advocates for mothers and children who are victims of domestic violence.