2020 Humanitarian Journey: Collaborative Synergy Fueled by Generosity

Throughout 2020, a year that is difficult for many due to the Covid-19 pandemic, economic decline, and natural disasters, generosity continues to shine among Indonesians. "Since mid-March, the number of people who have supported our philanthropic movements has increased by 154 percent amid the current condition," said Chairman of ACT’s Supervisory Board Ahyudin.

Free Food Operation is among the collaborative programs initiated by Aksi Cepat Tanggap and partners in 2020. The program later evolved into the Humanity Care Line which also opened up opportunities for people to participate in the field of humanitarianism as customer service. (ACTNews / Gina Mardani)

ACTNews, JAKARTA – The beginning of 2020 was marked with the tension in the Natuna Sea with the presence of the Chinese fleet in the area. To support the Indonesian military in guarding the country, Aksi Cepat Tanggap collaborated with the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), especially Kodim 0138, through a series of humanitarian actions.

Beginning with the dispatch of the Aksi Bela Indonesia (Indonesia Defense Action) team on Tuesday (1/7), ACT supported the military personnel stationed in the northernmost region of Karimata Strait, namely Natuna Regency in Riau Islands, and distributed food packages to local fishermen.

There, the ACT team also held a banquet for the locals at Kodim 0318 Natuna Regency on Friday (1/10), attended also by the Natuna Regent Abdul Hamid Rijal, Speaker of the Natuna Regency Regional People's Representative Council Andes Putra and Natuna Police Chief AKBP Nugroho D. Karyanto.

Weeks after the ACT team arrived from Natuna, there were reports of the newly-discovered disease, now known as Covid-19, that emerged from Wuhan, China. ACT took part in educating the public about this disease and distributed masks to the visitors of the Soekarno-Hatta Airport, Tangerang, at the end of January.

MRI Jember volunteers spray disinfectants at Pura Agung Amerta Sari Jember. (ACTNews / Zaynul Asror)

The Terminal 3 of Soekarno-Hatta Airport was chosen because this location is the gateway for people who are entering and exiting the country through the airport. "Hopefully, this will also have a multiplicative effect in other places, and increase public awareness in order for them to be more vigilant and protect themselves more," explained doctor Muhamad Riedha, Head of ACT's Covid-19 Medical Team.

The mask distribution didn’t take place only in Indonesia. Responding to the demands of the Indonesian migrant workers, a total of 1,210 packages of masks were sent to Hong Kong, 300 sent to Taiwan, 100 sent to Singapore, and 260 sent to South Korea. The mask distribution was able to be done thanks to the collaboration with Indonesian migrant worker unions in various countries.

Umar Hadi, Indonesian Ambassador to South Korea, in his thank you letter, said that the masks from ACT would be distributed to the worst-hit areas, namely Daegu and other cities in Gyeongsangbuk Province.

"The face mask aid from ACT not only protects Indonesian citizens from dangerous viruses, but also alleviate the mask scarcity that occurs in South Korea," Umar wrote.

At home, ACT initiated the National Command Post for Covid-19 Emergency and proceeded with humanitarian programs to alleviate the crisis. Aksi Cepat Tanggap President Ibnu Khajar explained, ACT’s National Command Post for Covid-19 emergency was established to serve the community, both as aid and information center.

Children from underprivileged families in Gaza were among the recipients the zakat-ul-fitr distributed through Global Zakat - ACT. Among the recipients were also the elderly and people with disabilities in Gaza. (ACTNews)

ACT’s National Command Post for Covid-19 emergency collaborated and received support from the Indonesian National Military Forces. Ibnu added that ACT leadership had been in touch with the Headquarters of Indonesian National Armed Force.     

In dealing with the pandemic, ACT collaborates with multiple parties, including the Jakarta Government, the Health Service of various provinces, the online motorcycle taxi company Grab, the State-owned company Pertamina, food and body care company Unilever, milk producer Frisian Flag, and BUMA mining contractors.

The Free Food Operation, Free Meal Operation and Free Rice Operation launched by ACT to assist the people whose livelihood has been severely affected by the pandemic have also been well-received by the benefactors and the beneficiaries with 1,869,850 kilograms of rice and 5,480 meal packages having been distributed. The programs benefit 2,348,767 beneficiaries in 39 regencies and municipalities across Indonesia. Additionally, 13,832 volunteers were involved in the food distribution.

To aid healthcare workers during the pandemic, ACT also distributed PPE packages and meal packages distributed through the Humanity Food Truck. In addition, ACT also provided bereavement money to families of the healthcare workers who died on duty when treating Covid-19 patients.

In March, a thousand packages of meal were given to the patients, healthcare workers, and officers at Wisma Atlet that has been converted into an emergency hospital for Covid-19. Simultaneously, PPE packages had been intensively distributed to various health facilities, in several cities like Surabaya, Bengkulu, Jakarta, and Maluku. In fact, many parties had participated in providing PPE packages for the health workers, such as Mercy Relief from Singapore. In addition, ACT partner the HP Foundation also provided swab test booths. In collaboration with ACT South Sulawesi, the swab test booths were distributed to a number of hospitals in South Sulawesi.

In Bekasi, ACT visited the families of nurses who died on duty treating the Covid-19 patients, Lieutenant Colonel Mulatsih and Nurlaela, along with the representatives from the Indonesian National Nurses Association.

"For the hard work and dedication of Indonesian nurses who have dealt with the Covid-19 outbreak, we give our high appreciation. Florence Nightingale in 1870 wrote in her diary that it will take 100 to 150 years to see the kindness of nursing that she envisioned, and today, 150 years after she wrote that, let us prove what she stated," said the Chairman of the Indonesian National Nurses Association Harif Fadhilah, last April.

In commemoration of the National Heroes Day and Health Day 2020, in Central Java, ACT presented two nurses with awards for their dedication to treating Covid-19 patients at RSUD Kariadi Semarang, the main referral hospital in the city.

The presenting of the awards to the families of the deceased healthcare workers. (ACTNews)

The late Rina Iswati Wuryaning Wulan, S. Kep., Ners and Nuria Kurniasih, AMK. passed away after being tested positive for Covid-19 in April.

"Our appreciation in the form of bereavement money was given to the families of the two to support their children’s education and to help them fulfill basic needs,” said Hamas Rausyanfikr from the ACT Central Java Program Department.

To prevent the spread of the virus, ACT also disinfected public facilities like bus stops, schools, and houses of worship. In collaboration with the Indonesian Peace Leader Interfaith Youth Community, ACT and MRI Jember disinfected a number of houses of worship in Jember.

At that time, Jember Peace Leader Coordinator Redy Saputro explained that the collaboration between the Peace Leader and ACT Jember initiated due to the fact that many places of worship in Jember had not been disinfected, especially those on the outskirts of Jember City.

"We hope that, through this collaboration, more houses of worship can be disinfected. Until now, there are still many houses of worship that have not been disinfected. Through this collaboration, we also hope that there is a sense of security for people who come to worship," said Redy at the time.

During Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr season, Muslims could only perform worship activities in their own homes due to the lockdowns. However, it did not stop acts of generosity from getting done during the blessed days. During Ramadan to Eid Al-Fitr, ACT distributed thousands of aid packages.

Iftar packages were distributed to Palestine, Syria, Yemen, to African countries, as well as to Uighur and Rohingya communities. In addition, ACT also distributed Eid gifts and Zakat-ul-Fitr.

ACT has always committed to helping the needy across the globe, providing health services, education aid, clean water, and food. Director of Global Humanity Response - ACT Bambang Triyono reported that, in 2020, 1,340,149 benefitted from ACT humanitarian programs all over the world, and 2,552 volunteers were involved in carrying them out.

ACT also focuses on supporting refugees that are stranded in Indonesia. ACT participated in helping the Rohingyas that were stranded off the coast of Lhokseumawe, Aceh, by providing food and medical aid through the Humanity Food Truck and Pre-Hospital Ambulance.

Towards the end of the year, ACT invited all Indonesians to rise up. Through the Bangkit Bangsaku (Rise My Nation) movement ACT invited the community to collaborate in the field of social, economic and health. This movement was further sharpened by the National Movement for Food Alms Gathering where individuals, communities, and corporations can be involved in providing staples for the needy.

Now that 2021 is a few days away, ACT’s humanitarian journey in 2020 reflects the generosity will not falter and will always be there for the needy. Will we be more generous next year? []