By Arlenea Halyda, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia
Palang Merah, or internationally known as Red Cross, is an organization that most of us have heard of, whether from a public advertisement or online awareness campaigns. But who are they, exactly, and what is their role in Indonesian society? Let’s get to know them so we can appreciate them better on this Palang Merah Indonesia Day!
Palang Merah Indonesia is a humanitarian organization under the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The establishment of Palang Merah Indonesia was ordered by President Sukarno himself when he saw many Indonesian soldiers and allies alike were wounded from an ongoing battle on September 3rd, 1945. Two weeks after the order, and exactly one month after Indonesia declared independence, Palang Merah Indonesia was officially created on September 17th, 1945 (happy seventy-sixth birthday, Palang Merah Indonesia!). But it wasn’t until 1959 that Palang Merah Indonesia achieved its legal status through Presidential Decree Number 25.
However, since there are no more battles, what do Palang Merah Indonesia sought out to do now?
Many things! Palang Merah Indonesia’s main objectives are to help elevate vulnerable communities’ lives and aid those in need. The ways in which they aim to reach these objectives vary, depending on which areas they operate in. Since its inception in 1945, Palang Merah Indonesia has been reinforcing several programs in disaster management, community health and welfare, and organizational development.
Due to Indonesia’s nature that’s prone to natural calamities (such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and landslides), Palang Merah Indonesia put disaster management as the top priority. Palang Merah Indonesia often held training to prepare citizens who live in vulnerable areas to face natural disasters and conflicts to be ready in times of urgency and hopefully be able to reduce the number of victims. Not only that, but Palang Merah Indonesia also understands how vital logistics, information systems, and safe warehousing are in emergencies, and they often educate citizens on those topics as well.
Beside disaster management, Palang Merah Indonesia strives to improve community health and social welfare in numerous aspects. Palang Merah Indonesia implemented a program that revolves around health and sanitation in six targeted regions through an approach called Pertolongan Pertama Berbasis Masyarakat (Community Based First Aid) and making clean water accessible in those regions. Social welfare initiatives are also active alongside the sanitation program, offering support to the elderly and providing blood transfusion unit service throughout the country.
Moreover, Palang Merah Indonesia is also aware of the national society’s need to strengthen its branch level capacity to assure that communication with the local government stays constructive and productive. Due to this, Palang Merah Indonesia assists their branches and chapters scattered throughout Indonesia to improve their functionality by holding management and program development workshops.
Through these endeavors, it’s apparent that Palang Merah Indonesia has impacted our society positively. Not only raising awareness to the public, they also help thousands of families and youths all across Indonesia. Palang Merah Indonesia also holds importance on public relations and communications, seeing as they lead Indonesian citizens in using their social media and technology for disaster awareness and prevention. Also, did you know that Palang Merah Indonesia succeeded in recruiting a total of 945,243 people to contribute to Palang Merah Indonesia’s Volunteer Corps and as individual and blood donor volunteers back in 2013? This number is recorded as the highest number of volunteers in the world! What a noble achievement.
Happy Palang Merah Indonesia Day, everyone! Hopefully, this article brings you awareness of how incredible this organization is, and who knows—maybe it can inspire you to be involved in their cause!