Real action by Atma Jaya Catholic University to save refugees

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Perhaps you’ve often heard about the news about the unstable condition of a country, in terms of politics and security, and which makes the country unsafe to live in. In many cases, the instability of a state may force many of its citizens to leave their own country. Well, such people are those we call refugees.

Indonesia has become one of the countries that shelter the refugees. Based on the official website of the International Labour Organization (ILO) (www.ilo.og), Indonesia has protected more than 13,000 foreign refugees, both the young and old generations. Well, as one of the best private universities in Jakarta that carries the KUPP (Christianity, Excellence, Professionalism, and Care) motto, the Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia (AJCUI) would like to help these refugees.

Last year, the AJCUI signed a letter of cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Dompet Dhuafa on Semanggi campus. The collaboration between the three institutions was implemented in the form of entrepreneurship training for the refugees to make them able to earn a living for themselves and their families. By the way, the practice was not intended only for the refugees, but also for the male and female, young entrepreneurs in Indonesia so that they could foster relationships with the refugees.

“The AJCUI’s partnership with ILO-UNHCR would become the voice for those who are unable to voice their concerns, especially the Indonesian youths and the young refugees. The skills they obtained from the training are hoped to help them when they start their businesses in the future,” said Michiko Miyamoto, Director of ILO for Indonesia and Timor-Leste. (Quoted from the ILO official website: https://www.ilo.org/jakarta/info/public/pr/WCMS_645329/lang–en/index.htm)

At AJCUI, the training was mainly organized by LPPM (Institute of Research and Community Services). The training, which was held from September 2018 to February 2019, was attended by 120 participants who were 17 to 30 years old. They were divided into three broad groups, each group consisting of 40 participants (20 refugees and 20 Indonesian male and female youths). During those five months of training, LPPM, together with its partners, did its best to provide the participants with maximal skills and knowledge to enable them to live adequately. The refugees who participated in the training came from countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Ethiopia, while the Indonesian participants were mostly the AJCUI students.

“The cooperation is commendable since it is meant for empowering people. Besides, as a facilitator, I am able to learn the refugees’ condition, which is previously unimaginable to me. I am so happy to be able to share what I own to those who are in need,” said Benedicta Evienia Prabawanti, S.E., M.M., one of the mentors in training, who is also a lecturer from the Faculty of Economics and Business, AJCUI.

The ACU was severe in this cooperation, as shown by the number of facilitators involved in the training. That is, 12 mentors, consisting of 8 lecturers and five alumni from the AJCUI, were engaged in the practice. The facilitators, who are experts in their fields, were briefed by the ILO staff members before the training began. For every session, five topics, namely entrepreneurship, marketing & sales, business management, finance, and preparations for the future, were selected for discussion. At the end of the training, the participants were each required to design a business plan.

“In the future, I hope the training will enable its participants to become entrepreneurs of sustainable businesses,” commented Ruby Ayu, one of the participants from the Faculty of Law, AJCUI.