Wolio in Malaysia

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Wolio (also known as the Baubau, Buton or Butung) primarily live on the island of Buton, around the city of Baubau, but can also be found on Muna, located in the SE Sulawesi province. Their ancestors were immigrants from Johor, Malaysia at the beginning of the 15th century, who also founded the Buton dynasty. In 1540, the sixth king became a follower of Islam. He reshaped the kingdom to become a sultanate and set himself up as the first sultan. The sultanate of Buton lasted until the death of the last sultan in 1960. With his death, the Buton sultanate ended its formal reign, though the influence of Buton is still felt throughout all the islands in the region. The Wolio are at the heart of the culture of Buton. Buton today is known for its production of asphalt and is currently being explored for oil and other minerals. Many people have moved to other islands to find work. At present, some Wolio people live in the areas of Maluku and Papua. They speak the Wolio language, which is from the Wotu-Wolio language cluster that includes the following languages: Kalao, Laiyolo, Kamaru, Wotu. Arabic is also understood by some, and its script is used in religious writings and older written materials in the Wolio language.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In each of their villages there is usually a market for the selling of materials related to cloth products, such as silk, cotton and other materials. Many villages also have small stores and peddlers also can be seen selling their wares throughout the village. Wolio people live as farmers on the land and sea. Primary land crops are rice, corn and cassava. In the sea, especially from June to September, vast stretches of water are used to cultivate agar-agar (seaweed) that is ground up and used to make a variety of products. Many people also work as sailors and shipbuilders. The water around Buton and Muna is filled with fish, especially tuna and those found around coral.
Wolio houses are built using boards, with small windows added. The roofs are built with small boards and coconut leaves. These houses are raised up to two meters above the ground. In the Wolio community, the men are mainly involved in labor outside the home, while the wife works in the home and manages the family and their finances. Baubau has now achieved official city status with its own mayor and local government. This has created many opportunities for Baubau's continued development. The Wolio people place a great priority on education. Good education for their children has been a high priority. This, added to their willingness to study foreign languages, has resulted in noticeable social advancement.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Almost all Wolio have beliefs centered in Sufi Islam. According to their teachings, they practice mediation to receive visions from God, or to find hidden truths far beyond their own reasoning. Belief in reincarnation is also adhered to because of Hindu influence. They also believe that evil spirits cause illnesses to occur while helpful spirits give guidance.

What Are Their Needs?

The Wolio need greater opportunities for work that can provide enough money for their livelihood. Because of the Wolio people's geographical situation, along a major sea lane through Indonesia, there is a great deal of tourism potential for the city. Their fishermen need better training and more knowledge to improve production and distribution of their sea products. In addition, teachers and educators are needed to satisfy the Wolio people's thirst for knowledge and to develop their potential.

Prayer Points

Pray for a spiritual openness among the Wolio that will lead them to the cross.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out loving and dedicated workers to the Wolio people.
Pray for Wolio disciples who will make more disciples.

Scripture Prayers for the Wolio in Malaysia.


IPN, 2011 Copyrighted © Used with permission

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Wolio
People Name in Country Wolio
Alternate Names Buton; Butonese; Butung; Lajolo; Walio
Population this Country 1,100
Population all Countries 252,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 15413
ROP3 Code 110855
ROP25 Code 308822
ROP25 Name Wolio
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Malaysia
Region Asia, Southeast
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 49  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)

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Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Wolio (1,100 speakers)
Language Code wlo   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Wolio (1,100 speakers)
Language Code wlo   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Wolio

Primary Language:  Wolio

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
FCBH NT (www.bible.is) Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Wolio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels Bible Media Group/LUMO
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2024  Anonymous  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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