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Jakarta Post

Global citizens: Indonesian schools, businesses raise funds for Australian bushfires

  • Michael Andrew

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 10, 2020   /   12:42 pm
Global citizens: Indonesian schools, businesses raise funds for Australian bushfires Army veterinarian captain Garnett Hall treats a koala for burns from bushfires on Kangaroo Island, in South Australia, on Jan. 10. (Australian Department of Defence/AFP/File)

Indonesian schools and businesses are raising funds to donate to relief efforts for the Australian bushfires, which have burned across 12 million hectares of forest since September 2019.

Bina Bangsa elementary school in North Jakarta has organized a fund-raising campaign after two students carried out a research project and learned about the fate of many thousands of Koalas, along with a billion other animals that experts estimate have perished in the fires since they began. 

Upon learning about the ecological cost of the fires, Ryan and Rachel Theresia presented their findings at a school assembly and proposed a fund-raising charity drive for the World Wide Fund For Nature Australia’s Koala Protection Program and called on their classmates to participate.

The school approved the charity drives, asking parents to help support their children with donations. According to the school, more than Rp 20 million (US$1,460) was collected from the drives on Jan. 30, Feb. 4 and Feb. 6.

“It is a good opportunity for the students to learn about the world and the current global issues,” Bina Bangsa principal Linawati Lauw said in a letter to parents.

“We also hope that through this activity, our students will have the opportunity to practice the value of compassion and generosity in action and to take responsibility as global citizens.”

The school will have a presentation on Feb.19 and Natassia Kaufman, second secretary of the Australian Embassy, will attend to receive the donation on behalf of Australia.

The severity and duration of the bushfires, which continue to blaze across large swathes of Australia, have prompted a flood of donations from across the globe, with more than A$75 million ($50 million) raised through Facebook campaigns alone.

While the Indonesian Military (TNI) has deployed personnel to Australia to help fight the fires and assist with relief operations, smaller enterprises across Indonesia are also pitching in.

Through Indonesian fund-raising platform Kitabisa, nearly Rp 20 million ($1,460), mostly from small individual donors, has been collected out of a target of Rp 100 million ($7,307).

In Bali, tourism businesses have been organizing fund-raising campaigns with proceeds going to charities in Australia.

Bali charity My Red Envelope has launched the Bali for Bushfires campaign, a program that partners with tourism operators to give customers a discount for their donations.

Visitors to Bali are encouraged to donate in exchange for a 10 percent discount when booking with a participating tourism operator. 

Any Bali-based business is welcome to join My Red Envelope, which aims to connect people to businesses that practice social responsibility.

In Canggu, a popular resort town in Bali, vegan eatery Give Cafe has launched its own campaign to raise funds for bushfire charities, with donations going to Wires Wildlife Rescue and the Australian Red Cross. 

While the official donation will be made at the end of March, the café told The Jakarta Post that it had already made a small donation of Rp 15 million ($1,096).

The café operates through a philanthropic business model, with 100 percent of profits going to causes deemed most urgent. 

Some Rp 423 million (US$31,000) has been raised since the café opened in August 2018 and a separate campaign to raise funds for the victims of the 2020 Jakarta floods is also running.

According to reports, torrential rain has doused one-third of the bushfires in New South Wales, providing immense relief to the scorched areas. However, parts of the region are now at risk of flooding with the rainfall being the heaviest in 20 years, reports Reuters.

– The writer is an intern under the ACICIS program