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RISE stands in solidarity with communities during pandemic

3 June 2020

In May, RISE delivered food staples to Makassar residents in informal settlements taking part in the RISE program. In total, 681 households across 13 settlements received a sack of rice to assist them during this time of hardship.

Large-scale social distancing measures, which have now been lifted, led to the shut-down of Makassar city, leaving many residents in informal settlements unable to leave their homes to go to work. Many work outside the formal sector – as daily labourers, security guards and drivers – with unstable incomes and minimal savings. Thousands of people have lost livelihoods, with limited social benefits and safety nets, and are struggling to afford essentials such as water, soap, food and medical treatment.

RISE Indonesia Community Fieldworker Idha Riu, who has been in contact with RISE residents via phone, notes that some people are so desperate they are braving the risk of catching and spreading the disease in order to go out and earn money.

‘From interactions via telephone, I have heard that some residents do not stay at home because they have to keep working, have to find work, or look for ‘orders’ to survive. According to them, the assistance prepared by the government is insufficient, or they have not received assistance,’ she said.

The RISE Indonesia team felt that donating food would be a tangible way to support families and encourage people to stay home if they can. Households received the rice packs in time for Eid-al-Fitr, marking the end of the Ramadan month. Although not a large gift in terms of value, it is symbolic of the strong relationships and deep importance placed on ‘standing alongside’ our study participants even when times are tough.

Sharing feedback from the RISE team, RISE Indonesia Coordinator Fitriyanty Awaluddin said, ‘the pandemic has put people in a difficult situation, bringing big social and economic impacts for the 13 settlements in Makassar taking part in RISE. The communities really appreciate our keen support’.

A message of support accompanied the food packs, wishing people well and encouraging safe hygiene practices:

We from RISE would like to wish you,

Selamat Idul Fitri 1441 Hijriyah

Eid Mubarak 1441 H

We would like to thank you for your understanding and patience, as RISE field activities are currently still on hold as we wait for the COVID-19 situation in Makassar to recover. We will continue to keep you regularly updated on RISE’s plans as the COVID-19 situation changes.

We hope that you and your family are safe and in good health, and that this gift helps you during this time. May you always protect yourself by always keeping a safe distance, wash your hands frequently, and always wear a cloth mask when you are outside your home.

Warm regards from the RISE team.