Indonesia is providing temporary refuge to several thousand refugees and asylum seekers from conflict areas and oppressive regimes from across the world. Most have stranded in Indonesia on their way to Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the United States, and are awaiting refugee status decisions by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). During this process, which may take several years, refugees are not allowed to work and have to endure long anxious waits. Most have used up their savings within a few weeks or months and thus depend on the provision of food and shelter from the Indonesian immigration authorities and religious or non-governmental groups.
Jana, a volunteer from a local church, which provides support to refugees in the Kelapa Gading area of North Jakarta, has asked Angsamerah to provide free HIV education and testing to a group of Iranian refugees, which are being supported by her church. A first HIV education session had thus been organized on Friday, June 10, 2016, for seven Iranian refugees. The team from Angsamerah consisted of Dr. Nurlan Silitonga, Director and Founder of Angsamerah Institution, and Felix Neuenschwander, who is the institution’s Project Manager. One of the refugees helped with the translation from English to Farsi. The material was delivered in an interactive way and participants were eager and interested to learn more about the immunodeficiency disease. At the end of the gathering, a date for the subsequent HIV testing at Klinik Yayasan Angsamerah was set.
Two weeks later, on Tuesday evening, June 29, the refugees arrived at the clinic to undergo free and voluntary HIV testing and counselling. Everyone agreed to be tested, with all results coming back non-reactive. Relieved about the negative test results and equipped with new knowledge, inspiration and hope, the refugees then travelled back to their housings in North Jakarta.
Angsamerah will be happy to provide further assistance related to healthcare to refugees in Jakarta and wishes the refugees the best of luck for their future – a future where they will be safe from persecution, are able to work and restart their lives.