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Spreading the gift of good eyesight in West Kalimantan

Posted: Jan 23, 2019 3 minute read Moses Silitonga 0 Likes

The splendour of West Kalimantan’s blue sky that day amazed Anita Dradjat. Along with other Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers from Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, she tenderly extended her helping hands to the patients who had just gone through cataract surgery. Care and patience were needed in helping them because there were numerous elderly patients. “We have to take extra care in handling them. They can’t see clearly so we have to guide them gently and patiently,” said Anita, one of the volunteers doing her part in the cataract surgery carried out as a social service to the community.

Tzu Chi volunteer and Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food representative Anita (left), helping one of the elderly cataract patients.

An increase in the number of cataract patients reported year after year from four districts, i.e. Sintang, Melawi, Kapuas Hulu and Sekadau, sparked this social service activity. The cataract surgery was conducted over two days from 14-15 December 2018, in collaboration with the Military Region Command in Sintang. 238 patients were treated for their cataracts.

Daliyah, one of the patients from Sekadau Hilir, was really pleased to be able to enjoy the benefits of these services. It took her several hours to get to the Level IV Army Hospital 12 07 02 Sintang where the cataract surgery was carried out.

The cataract surgery social service was a collaboration between Tzu Chi Foundation Indonesia and the Military Region Command in Sintang, West Kalimantan.

“I was both surprised and excited when they opened the bandage and I had my eyes examined. I can see clearly now and I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity,” said Daliyah after completing her post-surgery examination.

Anita, along with another 100 volunteers, maintained their enthusiasm in helping the patients until evening came. The doctors’ team consisted of nine physicians from Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) who came from Jakarta, and physicians from Sintang and Sinar Mas Plantations also continued to serve the patients one by one. Everyone played a part in providing care to the patients. “It was incredibly touching to hear one of the old ladies telling me she felt particularly grateful to receive such fine treatment during this activity,” said Anita.

The CEO of Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food for West Kalimantan Region as well as a patron for Tzu Chi Indonesia, Susanto Yang, directly lent a hand to help patients who were going through the cataract procedure.

CEO of Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food for West Kalimantan Region, as well as patron for Tzu Chi Indonesia, Susanto Yang, also came to offer his support for patients who underwent surgery.

He expressed his gratitude to all members of the Regional Leadership Council (Musyawarah Pimpinan Daerah/Muspida), including the Sintang Regent, Melawi Regent, Kapuas Hulu Regent, the Military Region Sintang Commander and local Public Health Office as well as all volunteers who had ensured this activity took place smoothly. Pak Susanto was happy that such services to the community could help patients live healthier and more productive lives.

The implementation of these social services also coincided with the commemoration of Juang Kartika Day – the birthday of the Indonesian National Armed Forces – which is why the Sintang division sent their soldiers to help out with this activity and participated from the screening to post-surgery stages. It was the first activity the military has held in collaboration with the Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers. Infantry Major Syafendi, Chief of Information Section, shared his hope of continuing the collaboration with our Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers in the future.

Learn more about our Tzu Chi Foundation here.


Moses Silitonga is currently active in Sinar Mas Peduli, a part of the Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food unit that engages in social work. In its implementation, Sinar Mas Peduli prioritises humanitarian practices and values in collaboration with the Indonesian Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. Moses completed his post-graduate education in Communication Management at the University of Indonesia.

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