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Manulife Indonesia has a proud tradition, spanning over two decades, of providing assistance to those in need, throughout the whole of Indonesia, through a foundation founded in 1998 called the Manulife Care Foundation. As part of its ongoing strategy the Foundation has provided funds and volunteers to help in numerous areas of development for Indonesian communities, ranging from health checks for children, blood donation, to funding women’s credit circles.
It was, however, a catastrophic event that highlighted the effectiveness and success of the Manulife Care Foundation. On Sunday, 26th December 2005, a tsunami struck the shores of many South East Asian countries, having devastating effects. The people of Banda Aceh found themselves at the center of this traumatic and cataclysmic event, subjecting three of Manulife’s branches, housing 129 staff, to a horrifying scenario. Sadly, fifteen members of our staff and agency perished along with eleven spouses together with the terrible loss of thirty five children; and fifteen Manulife children were left orphaned. With these horrifying consequences unfolding, putting the community in despair, Manulife Indonesia stepped in to help.
In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Manulife Indonesia’s principal objective was to rescue its people and provide them with food and shelter. Within hours two refuge homes were assembled in the nearby city of Medan, and one in Aceh itself (for those who wanted to continue their search for loved ones). Vehicles were hired to ferry our people to their safe haven in Medan and were effectively used on return journeys by carrying food, water, clothing and medical supplies to those who preferred to stay and look for survivors. Manulife Indonesia’s second objective was to donate an immediate fund of US$164,100 (around IDR1.5 billion) for emergency relief, half going to the Red Cross and the other half to the Indonesian Red Cross. This was then followed by Manulife’s first ever global fundraiser, the ‘ACTION Aceh Relief Fund’, which included donations from three continents and raised over US$500,000.
The success of the Manulife Indonesia involvement in the Aceh community is now clear for all to see. Manulife have not only been successful in helping to restore a flourishing commercial community, they have also contributed hugely to the now flourishing social community. A combination of the Aceh community’s resilience and Manulife’s, and all the other relief agencies’ help has led to a rejuvenated Aceh. In the aftermath of the tsunami frightened families huddled together in the unfamiliar surroundings of Medan. Children refused to bathe through fear of water, and the majority of people faced the possibility of financial ruin. Now, with Manulife’s help there is once again financial stability, emotional stability and an educational stability. Manulife feels rewarded for being able to play an active role in helping a community get back on its feet and look forward to a successful future.
The Banda Aceh branch now has moved into its permanent office at Jl. Jenderal Ahamd Yani No. 37, Peunayong, Banda Aceh. It was inaugurated on December 14, 2005. Two plaques were presented during the inauguration ceremony. One of them is a memorial plaque listing the names of members of Agency who perished in the tsunami.
Finally, Manulife Indonesia would like to thank the many incredibly kind contributions and donations towards the ACTION Aceh Relief fund made by Manulifers around the world. Without these generous donations a large part of the restoration and aid in Banda Aceh would not have been possible. With such immense quick support Banda Aceh has recovered and revitalized, and is now looking forward to a successful future. Once again Manulife Indonesia on behalf of the people of Banda Aceh would like to say a big THANK YOU.
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