Ramadan on the Sides of Commuter Line

Ramadan on the Sides of Commuter Line

ACTNews, JAKARTA – The sun was sinking to the west, and the sky of Jakarta was sunny after a light rain. Jakarta has so many sides. Behind the rapid development of the city, there are poor and slum areas. Petamburan, Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, is one of these poor, densely populated areas where the population growth is very fast.

There are so many meaningful stories about the life in this area during the month of Ramadan. On Tuesday (5/22), Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) came to spread happiness by distributing iftar packages for the residents of Petamburan who live on the sides of the railroad. That day is the sixth day of the “Enjoying Iftar together, Bringing Happiness to Jakarta, Spreading Blessings to All” (BBJB) program in Petamburan.

We went through the houses of the locals whose number is far bigger than the available space, making this slum area look extremely crammed. Some of the locals who have no space to build their houses even chose to build their abode on the sides of the railroad.

These houses were made of wooden boards, standing along the route of the commuter line between Tanah Abang and Kebayoran Lama train station. One of these houses belongs to Erna (46), a resident of Petamburan who has no choice but to live there. Erna and her eight children live in a small house whose width is no more than three meters.

“What else can I do? I first came here to find a job. Then I got married to a local and have eight children along the way. This is the life I have to live whether I like it or not,” said Erna.

Erna is an example of people who move from regions throughout Indonesia to the capital city to find job. For 20 years, other residents and she have been struggling to survive in the capital of Indonesia. Erna is just a housewife while her husband is an unskilled laborer.

“Because my husband doesn’t have steady earnings, I asked my children to help each other,” said Erna.  

Erna admitted that at first she was scared to live on the sides of an active commuter line route. The residents of the slum area in Petamburan often do their daily activities near the railroad.

“Initially, yes, I was afraid, especially when my children were little. Slowly, we have learnt to be alert and careful. When there’s a sound of the train horn, we will immediately stay away from the railroad,” she explained.

Our talk was interrupted. From afar, volunteers from Masyarakat Relawan Indonesia (MRI) were seen distributing iftar packages cooked in the Ramadan Public Kitchen. That afternoon, around 100 free iftar packages were distributed for the residents of the slum area in Petamburan and its surrounding areas.

Sahri, the program coordinator of BBJB in Central Jakarta said that every day his team distributes 1,100 free iftar packages to 21 different locations.

One of the distribution locations is in Petamburan. There are 360 packages for four distribution locations such as the settlement areas beside the railroad, small mosques in Petamburan II and Petamburan VIII, and the people around the public kitchen in PAUD Mawar Petamburan II,” explained Sahri.

Erna and her family received iftar packages from the BBJB program initiated by the Provincial Government of Jakarta collaborating with ACT. She was very grateful to receive the delicious iftar packages.

“Thank you very much. I hope this program will continue in the next years. May Allah ease the affairs ACT and Jakarta Provincial Government and give them success,” said Erna.

Meanwhile, Aminah (54), who was spending that afternoon with her grandchildren, also received the iftar packages. She was extremely glad and grateful. “I am happy; I hope there will be another distribution tomorrow. Thank you ACT. Thank you Jakarta Provincial Government. Alhamdulillah,” she said.

The BBJB SKB program is held throughout many regions in Special Capital Region of Jakarta. During the month of Ramadan, the Provincial Government of Jakarta and ACT will continue distributing free iftar packages to those who are in need. []



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