Moluccans Elst show results of earthquake fundraising

In 2019, an earthquake occurred in the Moluccas. The Moluccan community in Elst took actions to raise money for the villages that were affected. On Wednesday, March 22, 2023 a documentary was shown in Theater de Kik showing how the money was spent on the islands, with a word of thanks to the donors and people who took action.

On September 26, 2019, an earthquake occurred in the Moluccas. The epicenter was between the islands of Seram and Ambon. A dozen people were killed and more than a hundred wounded. The natural disaster caused damage to homes and other buildings. Fifteen thousand inhabitants fled to high-altitude areas. With the money raised by the Moluccan community in Elst, three schools were renovated and this venture was captured in the form of a documentary.

Broad-based fundraiser
Many Moluccan youths took to the streets in the evenings to collect money through a door-to-door collection. The local political parties, BOB, D66 and PvdA also organised activities that contributed to the collection. Under the name ‘Overbetuwe4Ambon’; they created a fundraising dinner, next to a Moluccan-Overbetuws cookbook and a football clinic with former professional footballer Jeffrey Leiwakabessy. Companies such as Shiatsu massages at thrift store 2Switch and deposit vouchers at supermarkets and the actions of umbrella organization Joint Churches also yielded something.

The action was widely supported, but from the municipalities Overbetuwe was not so smooth in the beginning. Mayor Partricia Hoytink-Roubos set up actions, which raised 13,000 euros when the city council, unlike other municipalities, refused to donate 10,000 euros. In the end, a considerable amount was raised and The Moluccan community is extremely grateful for all the support.

Working day and night with a smile
The community has worked extensively with Tifa Magazine. A Dutch-Moluccan media company based in Nieuwegein. The platform has a large audience in both the Moluccas and the Netherlands. “I have actually been working with uncle Agoes Peilouw for years, he is from the Moluccan district council Elst and we came into conversation. When he talked about the donations, I offered myself with ‘if I can do something, I’m happy to do it with all the love.'” says Ambonwhena Aratuaman, founder Tifa Magazine.

Together with Estelle Manusiwa, he went to the islands to take care of how the money was spent and to coordinate the reconstruction of schools. Three schools were renovated within weeks. “We did it with the locals. It was nice to see how hard they worked. There was a positive atmosphere while working. Everyone went on, day or night, rain or shine. The trust in each other and trust that things will work out ensured that the renovation runs smoothly,” says Aratuaman.

Building three schools in a matter of weeks
A preliminary investigation by Tifa Magazine showed that many schools had already been helped. A selection was made of which villages needed the money the most. Contact was then made with the headmasters and the school board. Soon after, a mass of purchasing products and refurbishing the schools followed.

Schools were chosen because the Moluccans consider it important to invest in education. “We also prefer to renovate the houses, but who should you choose? Many houses were damaged and unfortunately you cannot completely renovate all villages with the amount. So then you have to make choices. We chose schools, because it is important that children can follow carefree education. They are the future and children should feel safe,” Aratuaman said.

In total, the proceeds of the donations were €25,625.09. Of this, €6,645.65 remains. The remainder is spent on educational materials for the schools.

Source: Rn7
Text: Joyce Dijkstra

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