Young Catholics in Indonesia provide aid amid coronavirus

Young Catholics in Indonesia provide aid amid coronavirus

A Catholic church in Rantepao, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Credit: Sergey via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).
A Catholic church in Rantepao, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Credit: Sergey via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

.- A Catholic youth organization in Indonesia has instituted a movement to provide assistance to families struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Orang Muda Katolik, or Catholic Young People, recently began the initiative “Adopt One Brother,” which encourages youth to volunteer time and money to support poorer families, many of whom are now unemployed.

Indonesia has over 7,500 cases of COVID-19, and 647 deaths. According to data from the country’s Ministry of Labour, Aljazeera reported, 2.8 million Indonesians have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.

Stefanus Gusma, who leads OMK’s COVID-19 task force, said the initiative has spread to 26 of the country’s 34 provinces and involved thousands of OMK members. He said volunteers are encouraged to donate 200,000 to 500,000 rupiah ($12-32) per week.

"First, we mobilized our own members to help our fellow brothers and sisters who are experiencing difficulties. Then we extended our reach to anyone who was willing to help others,” Gusma told UCA News.

"After we receive their data, we contact them about where they would like their donations to go,” he said. “If a donor wants to donate to a family in East Nusa Tenggara province, we will coordinate with our members there to seek a family in need.”

With help from the local dioceses and governments, the organization has also distributed about 2,000 aid packages, electricity vouchers, and hygienic products.

According to UCA News, other OMK members said the organization has not only provided aid to families but to hospitals and orphanages as well. Maskendari, an OMK member in Pontianak, said the organization has distributed “hundreds of aid packages and thousands of personal protection items such as masks and bottles of hand sanitizer.”

“We want others to act, not only through our organization but also individually or with other groups,” Gusma told UCA News. "We want to show the importance of showing human solidarity in the midst of this current crisis," he added.

Orang Muda Katolik seeks to mentor young Catholics, aged between 15 and 35, by providing educational resources, coaching, and volunteer opportunities.

Bishop Pius Prapdi of Ketapang issued a letter to OMK at the end of March. He encouraged young Catholics to follow social distancing rules and other safety precautions. However, he also challenged the youth to find creative ways to help the community, like investigating free food assistance for those in need and checking-in on neighbors through social media.

“Catholic Young People can also help others in a safe way,” he wrote. “With creativity, young people can become leaders in this situation and go through critical times together.”

“Pope Francis invites young people to become the main actors (protagonists) in renewing the world, let us in this crisis period stop for a moment to reflect back on what we have made for ourselves, the environment, the Church and the citizens of the world.”

Tags: Coronavirus

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