The poverty rate in Indonesia has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. According to data from the Indonesian Central Statistics Agency (BPS), from September 2019 to March 2021, it reached 27.54 million people. Almost all sectors have received the impact of this pandemic, so it is not uncommon for people’s financial conditions to decline—especially single parents who have to fulfill their families’ needs. But bear the burden of their own because of being abandoned by their families due to COVID-19. Ni Nyoman Yuniati bears this burden after her husband past away in mid-2021.
“Now my job is chaotic, meaning that anything that makes money, I take, the important thing is halal. Massaging, selling incense, selling food, basically whatever people ask for, the important thing is to make money,” said Yuniati when we visited her residence in Abiansemal, Badung. This mother of five children who are still in school is a beneficiary of the Multipurpose Aid (BaNTu) program that IDEP and Save The Children Indonesia held in early 2022. BaNTu is here to overcome the financial constraints experienced by vulnerable families due to the pandemic. The distribution, which runs from 19 to 24 January 2022, is supported by the Western Australia Government.
To reach the community to remote areas, IDEP also collaborates with Pos Indonesia, spreading across every district. The people who receive this assistance are the underprivileged, disaster victims, elderly, single mothers, people with disabilities, farmworkers, orphans due to COVID-19, and children with severe malnutrition. From eight districts in Bali, we have distributed aid to 1,369 families. Beneficiaries can use this support which totals IDR 900,000 based on their needs. Such as Yuniati, who is currently caring for her five children in school.
Support Each Other during Pandemic
After her husband died, Yuniati and her five daughters supported each other. Even though Yuniati had to change her habits and try harder so that her children would not drop out of school, they never received any assistance from the government. The occasional help came from their relatives that could only meet their daily needs, and Yuniati had to think twice about meeting other needs.
Not a year since Yuniati’s husband left her; this small family has felt the limitations. Her second child had just entered the level of higher education. Still, she was forced not to take the opportunity to study at a state university because the tuition fees exceeded his family’s current ability.
In addition, Yuniati’s third child, “KD” who has a talent for painting, was forced to resist the urge to own painting equipment. “I dream of becoming a painter or designer, but now during this pandemic, I have never entered a competition. It’s also difficult to buy drawing tools because they are expensive,” said KD.
Yuniati does not want her child to continue to face prolonged sadness. She also tried various efforts, one of which was selling incense. BaNTu was also used to meet the school needs of his three children, who are still in junior high school. “This is to buy clothes and books too, and pay the semester fees,” added Yuniati.
Various Efforts to Survive During Pandemic
BaNTu also targets people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, as experienced by Made Suparsa. “Before, I was a Denpasar-Gilimanuk driver, but now because of the pandemic, I lost my job. Now I’m taking odd jobs as a daily laborer and trying to make a living,” said the man from Jembrana.
Even Suparsa has little opportunity to sell semat, but it is not easy. Because since the pandemic, the price of materials has increased, and the number of buyers has decreased. “Buy bamboo for this material Rp. 200,000, in two days, can produce ten bunches later taken by middlemen for Rp. 100,000,” said Suparsa.
He will also use the assistance that Suparsa receives to meet his daily needs, and the rest will be used as business capital. Although it does not cover a month’s needs, this assistance helps him save and increase business capital. (Gd)