07/04/2006, 00.00
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A Catholic's tour of Indonesia "hunting" for aid for Java quake victims

by Mathias Hariyadi
Our correspondent, who comes from one of the districts hardest hit by late May's earthquake, toured the island for a month in search of donations with the help of his parish in Wedi. In a letter to AsiaNews he describes his work on behalf of his fellow residents and the "generous" response from Christians and Muslims.

Wedi (AsiaNews) – Dear friends, for a month I have been unable to write. So much time has been necessary to collect aid and coordinate humanitarian activities on behalf of my fellow residents in Wedi, Klaten Regency, in central Java, who were hit by an earthquake on May 27.

The generous response of the population, both Christians and Muslims, was reward enough for the hard work. In four weeks the parish of the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God, in Wedi received US$ 18,000 on its account. Much aid came in the form of food, clothes and tents.

In working on behalf of the displaced it is as if I answered a divine calling. As a former student in the Jesuit seminary in Semarang, I know many people throughout Indonesia's Catholic communities and so I launched an appeal to collect aid. I found precious support in the Servants of Christ Sisters and diocesan priests in Wedi.

It was amazing. Indonesian Catholics responded generously. And the news published on AsiaNews contributed to raise awareness about the victims' plight and awaken donors.

I toured the country talking to hundreds of friends, relatives, former school mates, in religious institutions and seminaries. The result? Eighteen thousand dollars in donations in the Wedi parish's bank account.

The money will be spent on reconstruction projects in favour of the homeless, regardless of religion.

In a meeting at the Wedi parish in June we decided to give out the aid such as food and clothes in the quickest and fairest way possible.

Many people came to the parish church to volunteer: Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, university scholars, students, boy-scouts and all sorts of organisations.

I was in charge of explaining to them the real situation and needs of the people of Wedi. We set up a team that included my sister to coordinate volunteers and lead them to the devastated areas.

We did a lot and people are very grateful to us, but our job is not yet done.

Thank You


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