Indonesian Catholics raise funds for non-permanent teachers
by Mathias Hariyadi

The Christmas Cross Challenge 2000 opened with a solemn Mass on Tuesday. Several Catholic associations and at least 3,000 people have joined the initiative, including 900 priests and religious. Sporting events and competitions throughout December include running, walking, and cycling.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Christmas Cross Challenge 2000 kicked off on Tuesday with a solemn Mass celebrated by Card Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo, Archbishop of Jakarta. Its goal is to raise funds to support substitute and non-permanent teachers.

The promoters issued an appeal to Catholics across the country, inviting them to participate in sports and wellness days – running, fast walking, cycling, gymnastics – scheduled throughout the month.

During the service, the cardinal spoke of a “noble humanitarian initiative” to support the work of teachers hired on short-term contracts with Catholic institutions “whose finances have been severely affected by the [COVID-19] pandemic”.

"I really hope that everyone can support this public crowd funding, which is a [noble] cause,” said the archbishop.

The initiative – which is promoted by the Jesuit Alumni Association (AAJI) together with other Indonesian Catholic humanitarian organisations connected to the Archdiocese of Jakarta and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Indonesia (KWI) – will continue throughout December and involve 3,000 participants, including at least 900 priests, consecrated people and men and women religious.

The project promoted by young Catholics has been praised by Caritas, which pledged its support through its president Archbishop Aloysius Sudarso.

For AAJI’s president Adrianus Roy, the purpose of this initiative is to raise funds through contributions from participants and other benefactors, above all from Catholic organisations.

“Our target recipients,” he told AsiaNews, “are non-permanent teachers in Catholic educational institutions across the nation, especially outside of Java, who have experienced severe financial challenges during this pandemic.”

In Indonesia, thousands of non-permanent teachers work in both private and government schools. Their presence is significant and they play a fundamental role.

However, their everyday life has been seriously affected by the lack of regular payments from educational establishments, many of which have adopted distance learning as a result of COVID-19.

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