COVID-19:  Helping deal with the pandemic in Indonesia

Woman wearing mask
Aula Muntasyarah

Aula Muntasyarah works for the Indonesian Government at the Agriculture and Plantation Training Centre of West Nusa Tenggara Province.

Since the Government announced work from home and social distancing policies, Mrs Muntasyarah’s office has been prohibited from conducting training. They now work from home, with occasional visits to the office.

“Last December, I was chosen by the Governor to be part of his advisory team. Over these last two months I have another task, as part of the COVID-19 task force; to address the social and economic impacts on the local community in West Nusa Tenggara Province due to the virus outbreak,” she said.

“We have to establish a system to help impacted communities, particularly the poor community and the jobless. This brings me to a new experience of government social economic policies.”

“My education background is in Forestry Science and Management; thus this is a challenge for me. We have to ensure that all impacted people will get benefit from the Province's social safety net policy.”

“As part of the community, we also have to help our neighbours.”

April to May is Ramadhan for people of the Muslim faith.

Mrs Muntasyarah says part of the spirit of this holy month is to help others, particularly poor people.

“I chose to take action by helping a lady who works at my house and her families’. I chose to allow her to not work during the outbreak, to maintain social distancing, but I still pay her salary each week and once a week I share a package of staple food for her and her families.”

“I remember advice from an Indonesian lady saying that during this outbreak, if we still have financial ability, we should take action by helping at least one impacted family. I chose to do this to help the community to support social distancing in my place.”

“I think people will stay at home if they have food for them and their family.”

As a mother Mrs Muntasyarah also has to teach her kids every day.

“This is so challenging as I have three boys of different ages. I have to set up different learning material for the three of them according to their age. I also ensure they just stay at home or sometimes play in our front and back yards.”

“I hope this situation will get better soon for every country in the world so we can have our normal life.”

Aula S Muntasyara completed her Master of Forest Science and Management at Southern Cross University in 2019.