Tzu Chi’s medical care for the refugees in Indonesia

Originally published

Currently Indonesia is officially hosting more than 6,000 refugees with additional some 7,600 people seeking asylum. With the increase of refugees, the UNHCR has reached out to Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation in Indonesia for providing medical care for refugees.

In Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, lots of refugees wander the streets. In order to address the plight of refugees, the UNHCR representatives in Indonesia are actively seeking out charitable organizations that can offer assistance to refugees. Because they think that Tzu Chi has an incredible amount of experience, and can offer quality care to the refugees. So they reached out to Tzu Chi Foundation in Indonesia to help with medical clinic.

Under the organization of the Church World Service, Tzu Chi along with representatives from the UNHCR cooperated to hold a two-day free clinic to help over 1,000 refugees from various countries with their health concerns.

Andre Prewire, doctor of Tzu Chi Foundation, said that:「There have been several cases where the refugees are suffering from ailments or sicknesses that are common among the local rural population. Many of them suffer from chronic issues like high blood pressure or diabetes.」

Language barriers are often the biggest problem doctors face in providing effective medical treatment. Hemming, one of Tzu Chi Volunteers, shared that many of the refugees don't understand English, which is what the doctors try to use, but communication is very difficult. Thankfully, UNHCR has provided translators, so doctors and nurses can focus on comforting and listening to them.

Luckily, a Somalian refugee present who can also speak English offers to act as interpreter for doctors and patients. He told Tzu Chi volunteers: 「There is a lot of people that are unable, voiceless, they can not talk of their problems. So I am happy that I can actually talk about their problems, and explaining them to those who need to hear it.」

Many Somalian Refugees said that:「 The volunteers are so friendly. They are always smiling as they care for us. The doctors and nurses are very thorough during the exam. They also offer us good medicine.」

Tzu Chi knows that refugees face an uncertain future everyday, and deal with pressures that most people can only imagine. Tzu Chi doctors and nurses do what they can to help these struggling people take care of their physical health, and also hopefully provide them an emotional outlet for the stress they have been dealing with.

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