papanggo – care for the elderly poor


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There are a number of big organisations in the field of humanitarian service for the poor. We have the Rotary international. Lion’s Club. And Médecins Sans Frontières to name but a few. On the other hand, we have individual doctors, general practitioners and specialist alike, who help the needed without a lot of publications. This is a story of one brave and kind general practitioner with hearts for the poor.

Huriawati has been a volunteer worker for Lembaga Daya Dharma, the social institution of Archdiocese of Jakarta that was established in 1962, for years. Last year, though, when they were looking for a doctor to support one of the programs, she jumped in immediately, and has ever since focus on provision of health-care for the poor under the Community Service Agency of the Institution.

Last week I had the chance to follow her and two social workers from the institution, mbak Yati and mbak Dian, to a small illegal habitat in Papanggo, north of Jakarta. The area they are living in has a clear sign by the Jakarta Office of Public Works Service, stating that it is not allowed to be utilised, as it is part of a tollway. This particular program aims to give basic health care to the elderly, and at the same time share a few necessities such as rice, crackers, and soap.

Most people in this area live as scavengers. Clean water is non-existent. To get clean water, people run meters and meters and meters of half inch plastic hose and pvc pipe from a particular source. It cost each of them 20,000 rupiah for 1 hour of running water, regardless the volume. Electricity… well, let’s not talk about how they get electricity.

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We went to a house that is definitely better in both construction and infrastructure that belongs to the contact person of the habitat for the program, ibu Casmi. For her, the only worry is flood. Until recently, when flood came, she was able to evacuate the dwellers to the railroad nearby which is on a much higher ground. Today, though, the railway is active again and she is yet to find an evacuation area.

The elderly came and go. They were fun to be with. They didn’t grumble. They smile, and laugh, as if life is easy. According to Huriawati, most of them don’t need much serious medication, but they do need attention and love. Huriawati, mbak Yati, mbak Dian and friends at the Lembaga Daya Dharma are giving these to them. You too, can give. Find out more here for ways to help.

Thank you for stopping by, and thank you for giving.

PS. The first three images were taken with an HTC One M8.

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