Looking around the house awarded to him by Jabar Bergerak volunteers, Hidayat, who works as a janitor at Soreang Regional General Hospital (RSUD), Bandung district, West Java, was unable to control tears of joy. Then he bent down and prostrated to pray.
For Hidayat, July 17, 2021 will remain a memorable day because that's when he received the keys to his Type 36 house, built on 66 square meters of land, in Bukit Esma housing complex, Cicalengka district, Bandung.
After many decades, Hidayat's dream of owning a home had finally come true. Now, Hidayat and his family finally had a place to call home.
He said he was grateful to own a house where he could stay with his wife and three children without having to worry about rent.
"I am very happy. I would like to thank Mrs. Praratya for initiating this activity. Also the doctors and nurses at RSUD," Hidayat remarked. He said he planned to immediately shift his wife and children from the rented house to their new abode.
Hidayat was one of the 884 participants of the "Romantic", or "Free Comfort House" program, initiated by Jabar Bergerak.
Thirty employees of Soreang Hospital, who had seen Hidayat's dedication to his work, had recommended him as a 'COVID-19 hero' to the Jabar Bergerakorganization.
Unbeknownst to Hidayat, Jabar Bergerak volunteers had conducted a survey at his workplace, interviewed the people who referred him, and then gone directly to his old rental home.
Jabar Bergerak said it decided to crown Hidayat as a hero of COVID-19 after seeing his dedication in supporting the handling of COVID-19.
As a janitor at Soreang Hospital, Hidayat is in charge of cleaning the area around the emergency unit.
In addition to his janitorial duties, Hidayat has been volunteering to help the families of COVID-19 patients arriving at Soreang hospital's emergency unit.
He has been on a 24-hour standby, prepared to spray disinfectants, take patients to isolation rooms, and help take care of the bodies of COVID-19 patients who did not make it.
He said he knows his work puts him and his family at risk of contracting COVID-19. Therefore, he said he has always worked in accordance with the health protocols implemented in the hospital environment.
Other than Hidayat, Jabar Bergerak has also deemed Sujono (34) a volunteer at the Padasuka Health Center, Bandung City, as a COVID-19 hero.
Sujono was one of the 886 participants of Modis, another program initiated by Jabar Bergerak, which gave away free motorcycles for those who needed them the most.
Sujono, who has no permanent job, was recommended as a hero by two officers of Padasuka Health Center because of his outstanding dedication and help in the handling of COVID-19.
He helped the health center's officers in dealing with COVID-19, and also tried to ease patients' struggles, especially those undergoing self-isolation.
He volunteered to check the condition of people suspected to have contracted COVID-19 and provided counseling on health protocols to prevent virus transmission.
Sujono also initiated a fundraiser to help health workers affected by COVID-19.
His dedication did not go unnoticed. In recognition of his efforts, Jabar Bergerak awarded him a motorcycle on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at the Secretariat of Jabar Bergerak, Bandung.
"I am happy and grateful for Jabar Bergerak and these award sponsors. The motorcycle will be very useful for me," Sujono said.
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A 'love' sign
In the past year and a half, doctors, health workers, and members of the public have been making all possible efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
To appreciate and encourage humanitarian fighters during the pandemic, Jabar Bergerak initiated the Romantic (Free Comfort House) and Modis (Free Dream Motorcycle) programs.
Founder and chairwoman of Jabar Bergerak, Atalia Praratya, symbolically gifted a home to Hidayat via video conferencing from Pakuan Building, Bandung City on July 16, 2021.
Meanwhile, the free motorcycle was handed over directly to Sujono at the Secretariat of Jabar Bergerak, Bandung City on July 14, 2021.
"This is a sign of love to these COVID-19 heroes," remarked Praratya, who is also West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil's wife.
"There is nothing that is impossible, Jabar Bergerak received a lot of support from sponsors such as BJB bank and Ingria Group to give gifts in the form of houses and motorcycles," she informed ANTARA.
She said the aid for the two COVID-19 heroes was organized through sponsors' donations, not from government funds.
"This is from the sponsors' kindness. Jabar Bergerak is just their hands to reach the gift recipients. The sponsors' kindness should be received in our hearts as well," Praratya said.
The recipients of Romantic and Modis awards were recommended by the people around them, like friends and neighbors, she added.
Under the two programs, gifts were given to people who had supported the handling of COVID-19, but were struggling with economic difficulties, such as not having a home or lacking proper transportation to get to work, she informed.
About 1,769 COVID-19 heroes were recommended by people who had known them and their sacrifices well, she observed adding, this shows their contributions were not forgotten.
Jabar Bergerak selected the recipients by conducting surveys in their workplaces and interviewing people who had recommended them.
After running the first season of the programs in March, 2021, Jabar Bergerak plans to run season two, which will not only reward those working in health facilities, but also Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises owners supporting their pandemic-impacted businesses, Praratya informed.
"As in the first season, this program will also provide as many as nine houses and nine motorcycles to COVID-19 pandemic heroes including health workers, educators, MSME fighters, and non-medical volunteers," she added.
The award program, according to her, is part of an effort to build solidarity with the community during the pandemic.
"This is solely from the donors' and community's kindness. Everyone involved in Jabar Bergerak also does not receive honors, we are pure as volunteers," she said.
"In addition to fostering a sense of solidarity, the program is expected to serve as a form of consolation to workers and volunteers who are involved daily in the fight against COVID-19," she added.
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