Mrs. Daratolona is 70 years old. With her husband, she lives far away in a remote village, tens of kilometers from the downtown crowd of Palu, Central Sulawesi.
Every day her husband must look for forest products such as young rattan for sale. Daratolana brings this young rattan to the traditional market, which is open every Wednesday and Saturday every week. She needs to travel quite a distance, with the rattan at her back she walk approximately 5 Km before she can get public transportation that would take her to the market. As usual, Daratolana is only able to bring two bundles of young rattan sticks for sale. The price of this young rattan sold only for Rp. 25,000 per bundle. She didn’t get much from the sellings, but this is all they can do to survive every day.
Mrs. Daratolona did not know what COVID-19 was, “I never went to school, so I didn’t know anything.” he said sadly.
After listening to ADRA’s explanation, Ms. Dorotola understood, what was the COVID-19 and its dangers, especially for those who were elderly like her and her husband. Daratolona, who always meets with many people during her journey from her village to the market, will be very quickly exposed and infected by this virus.
When asked her to stay at home for a while, Mrs. Daratolana did not mind; she was very grateful for the attention ADRA gave to her and her husband. She will use the cash assistance received from ADRA to buy their daily needs, such as buying rice, fish, and other kitchen needs, without having to go to the market for two months.
Since the announcement of the first case in Indonesia in early March 2020, the Covid-19 outbreak up to the end of April 2020 has infected thousand of people and claim hundreds of lives. At present, this virus has spread to all provinces throughout Indonesia. To prevent spreading, the Government has implemented Large-Scale social restrictions in various locations. They asked people to work, study, and worship from home. People will lose their income, especially those who work in the non-formal sector, such as Dortolona, who only get their income from meeting with many people.
Currently, there are many elderly people like Daratolona, who, for many reasons, still have to work to survive. They can be found everywhere, in traditional markets, and on street corners. They are not only poor but also old and vulnerable.
Daratolona is one of the beneficiaries of ADRA’s disaster response assistance in Palu, Central Sulawesi, an area that is still struggling to recover after the tsunami in 2018. This financial assistance is given to the elderly from the smallest community who still actively working outside so that they can stay at home and free from the threat of COVID-19. The same response is also currently being carried out by ADRA in Jakarta and surrounding cities.
The Government and the community are work hand in hand to overcome this disaster. Hopefully, this pandemic will be end soon!