05/21/2020, 13.56
INDONESIA
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Poor people helping the poor during the pandemic

by Mathias Hariyadi

Ms Yatmi gave part of her pension for the sick. Elizabeth, a nurse, donated her salary for unemployed daily labourers. Ismanto donated his paintings. Yasmin Saman, 6, donated the money she saved in two years. Diego, a 12-year- old disabled, donated his savings.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Many people think they must get rich first and then worry about being charitable to others. Other people practise a different philosophy.

Ms Yatmi, a widow in Kedungjati, a village in Grobogan Regency (central Java), is one of the latter. She lives in a simple hut on her monthly pension. She earns something extra selling drinks and food from her home. Sometimes she goes to rice fields to plant or take care of the land of some other small property.

The 65-year-old woman has a lot of compassion for others. Usually, she is the reference point for daily chat with neighbours and children. This type of relationship is typical in rural areas of Indonesia.

Ms Yatmi has financially helped some COVID-19 patients in her area. She gave a million Indonesian rupiahs (US) a few days ago to the head of the local sub-district. When he was about to leave, she added another 200,000 rupiahs.

The money probably comes from her pension and savings. It is in fact impossible to earn that much from just selling drinks and food in a rural village, where they cost at most ten rupiahs.

Other people have also been generous during the pandemic. Elisabeth Wahyu Ajar Wulan (picture 4), a Catholic, works as a nurse at Panti Rapih Hospital, the only Catholic hospital in Yogyakarta (central Java).

Born in Bulu, near Sawangan-Magekang, about 30 km from Yogyakarta, she donated her April salary for COVID-19-related humanitarian programmes.

"I donated my April salary because I heard about the large number of unemployed daily labourers,” she said, following “a friend named Ismanto (picture 1), also from Magelang, who offered some pieces of art to humanitarian programmes during the pandemic.” Ismanto, a painter, hails from Mount Merapi. He too is Catholic.

Then there is Yasmin Saman (picture 2), a 6-year-old girl from Makassar (South Sulawesi province) who donated her savings, 448,000 rupiahs (about US) for COVID-19 patients. Yasmin’s mother, Mardiana Rusli, said that she saved the money for two years.

In April, two other girls, Tata and Usia, donated their savings for the same purpose. Together they donated 349,000 rupiahs (US).

Diego Bagus Putra (photo 3), a 12-year-old disabled boy, is another very young donor in Batam, a city on the island of Batam (Riau Island province).

The boy, who attends elementary school, felt compassion for others after seeing people make donations for COVID-19 humanitarian programmes on social media and TV.

He brought two boxes with his savings to the Batam Catholic Youth Organisation. His mother, Ms Mustika, had “no idea how much money he collected."

Diego has been disabled since birth, she explained. She thinks he saved the money she gave him every day to buy food and drinks at school.

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