In the heart of the Pacific lies Indonesia, a breathtaking tapestry of islands draped with the beauty of nature's wonders. Yet, all this beauty hides an undeniable vulnerability: exposure to the capricious dance of disasters. Since 2020, my journey in humanitarian work has been a symphony of compassion, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to safeguard the rights of the most at risk, especially children.
Deployed to the frontlines of six emergency responses, from earthquakes, floods, cyclones, volcano eruptions to landslides, I was able to see how stressful post-disaster conditions can put children at risk of displacement, psychosocial issues, and limited access to essential health & education services.
One of the achievements I am most proud of came when a student-led organization, namely SBSM Poltekesos Bandung, and I established a Semeru Volcano Eruption Emergency Response in 2021. Young people carried out this initiative by creating a concept note, collaborating with 15 youth-led organizations to raise funds, conducting a rapid needs assessment, and implementing the MHPSS Program and program evaluation.
Driven by a sense of duty, I was on the front lines conducting a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Program. It was not an easy task because, at that time, the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting Indonesia. Risk management and strict health protocols were prioritized, to ensure that all teams and affected populations are not exposed to COVID-19. After 1 month of program implementation and collaboration with local volunteers, the program reached 367 participants, including children, parents, and people with disability. We distributed 800 food and non-food items, including supplementary food for children, school kits, family kits, and IEC (Information, Education, and Communication) Material to protect children during emergencies.
We believe that education became the cornerstone of resilience, a foundation upon which the future could be rebuilt. Not only by providing emergency response to disasters, but also by preparing children to be ready and have the capacity to face disasters through the school-based earthquake preparedness program and Psychosocial Support Training for young people. Several activities are carried out, such as socializing the dangers of earthquake disasters, improving children's skills in emergency first aid, identifying vulnerabilities and risks at school, creating evacuation routes with teachers, and conducting earthquake disaster simulations. So far, this program has reached eight schools and one village in Bandung, Indonesia.
Reflecting on this journey, I recognize the need for a sustained commitment to advocacy that resonates beyond the immediate response. As World Children's Day 2023 approaches, the call is clear. In the face of emergencies, fulfilling children's rights is not just a goal; it is a moral imperative, a promise we must keep. Let our advocacy be a symphony that reaches the farthest corners of the world—a call to action for leaders, communities, and individuals to prioritize the rights of children in emergency situations. Together, we can shape a sustainable resilience, ensuring every child's rights are acknowledged and fiercely protected in all conditions.