Question time: Caritas Indonesia Director Fr Sigit
“Our biggest challenge is how to help the population of West Sumatra return to their ‘normal’ lives, to the ones they lived before the earthquake,” says Fr Sigit Pramudji, head of Caritas Indonesia. “People want things such as kitchen sets and toolkits to help them get back to their old way of life.”
Fr Sigit with Caritas Internationalis Humanitarian Director Alistair Dutton
As is often the case with emergencies around the world, the Caritas confederation has the advantage that it had an office in the affected area staffed by mainly local people even before the earthquake struck.
“A lot of in-kind donations such as clothes, blankets and water were sent to Padang from other Indonesian dioceses. In the meantime, people started to volunteer within the diocese of Padang,” says Fr Sigit.
“I was lucky enough to visit a Caritas distribution this week. The Caritas team was able to make people understand that aid varied from family to family because some needs were greater. This meant there was no envy of those who had more.”
There are various advantages to being a “grassroots” organisation. Staff are already familiar with the people, culture and territory before a disaster strikes. Importantly, Caritas remains in the area for the long term and doesn’t leave once the emergency is over.
“Another thing that struck me, was how local people took ‘ownership’ of the distribution. They helped unload materials and they took part in the distribution process along with Caritas staff,” says Fr Sigit.
RESOURCESAnnual Report 2011Emergency GuidelinesEmergency Response Tool KitEmergency Appeals 2012Emergency Appeals 2011Emergency Appeals 2010Emergencies on Caritas BlogBridging the Gap between Policy and Practice