Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Nusantara Economic Heroes Program (PENA) has helped 1,322 beneficiaries escape from extreme poverty in 2023, Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini said on Wednesday.

She said that those beneficiaries had expressed their readiness to leave extreme poverty.

"Actually, there are 1,883 beneficiaries whose income is already above the district/city minimum wage, but those who are ready to escape from extreme poverty are currently 1,322," she added.

At least 1,191 of the 1,322 beneficiaries received social assistance, and the rest independently "graduated" from the PENA program, she informed.

The program was launched in 2017 and is aimed at helping poor and vulnerable groups, including women, youth, and people with disabilities, to start their own businesses.

Rismaharini said that of the 141 million people listed in the Integrated Social Welfare Data (DTKS), only 21 million of them were recipients of social assistance, so those who had not received assistance were eligible for the PENA program.

"We do not give them cash assistance, but we give them (for example) rice cookers, stoves, and rice, for those who want to sell food," she said.

At an event held to celebrate PENA beneficiaries who have become self-sufficient, the beneficiaries presented their instant food products, handicrafts, small stores, and workshop services.

On the same occasion, expert staff from the Presidential Staff Office (KSP), Abraham Wirotomo, reinforced the goal of eliminating extreme poverty in the country by 2024.

"In the PENA program, the hero is not Mrs. Rismaharini, but the families who want to get out of extreme poverty," he said.

He said that the Ministry of Social Affairs' efforts to help increase the income of the poor were appropriate, so that social assistance would reach those who really need it.

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Translator: Devi R, Kenzu
Editor: Anton Santoso
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