A Story of Hope from Indonesia

Friday, 11 Dec 2020

Finding the positive in the Covid-19 landscape: A story of hope from Indonesia

As the Covid-19 pandemic escalated around the world, the World Health Organisation issued a sobering report noting the risk that people with disability faced in protecting themselves from contracting the virus. Over the last 12 months, these challenges have also extended to protecting the livelihood of people with disability, especially where people with disability might work in insecure jobs or be reliant on the tourist economy.  In an already uncertain time, this added stress can be very damaging for people with disability.

That’s why in times like this, it is so important to focus on the positives that emerge. One such example is from CBM’s work in Indonesia. Our local partner in Yogyakarta has worked to identify, and address some of the specific needs of people living with mental illness during the pandemic.  There is significant research that has underscored the risk of mental health issues escalating during health crises, so CBM’s programs have focus on the needs of people already living with mental illness. In this case, the local village government in one target district, Kulon Progo, prioritised the economic needs of people experiencing mental health concerns, by organising a festival of products made by people with mental illness. This gave people the opportunity to promote their businesses and attract new buyers, which built their confidence and helped change local perceptions of mental illness. As a result, people will continue to earn an income during the pandemic and into the future.

Examples such as this one are important to celebrate because they support the immediate future of people experiencing mental illness, but also because these events help to embed people with disability into the local economy by showcasing their wares and improving their long-term economic prospects in the community.

CBM acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).