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Making a difference for children in need

Four community-spirited ACG School Jakarta students are changing lives at Yayasan Amaryllis Kirana, an Indonesian foundation set up to assist children with cancer and haemophilia.

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Last September Anya Simanjuntak, Anastasia Sufian, Irah Abd Wahab and Devina Darmawan launched the AIDA Project as part of their International Baccalaureate Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project. The venture aims to support children at Amaryllis Kirana through donations of clothes, toys, books and money – and already more than 20 children have reaped the benefits of the students’ efforts.

“We try to help the children in any way we can,” says Anya. “Each month we visit the Foundation to donate what we’ve gathered, take the children care packages, and comfort them by talking and listening to them.

“We raise funds through online events which we promote on Instagram, and after talking to the children during our monthly visits, we post their stories on our Instagram account, to spread awareness and help our followers better understand the situations and difficulties they are facing.”

Anya first learnt about the work of Yayasan Amaryllis Kirana through a previous CAS experience, which saw her make and donate hundreds of masks and face shields in response to the global pandemic.

“I could see that Yayasan Amaryllis Kirana needed more help than many of the other organisations I was donating to, so I talked to my friends about working together to launch the AIDA Project. We came up with the name AIDA by combining the first letters of our names A(nastasia), I(rah), D(evina) and A(nya). It also serves as a substitute for the phrase ‘Aid the Children’, which we thought was very fitting.”

Since then, the Year 13 girls have worked tirelessly in their efforts to support the Foundation.

“We’ve been able to gather a lot of boxes of clothes, toys and books from our Instagram followers and are very happy with the amount of money we’ve raised so far for the Foundation. It’s very heart-warming to know that so many people support us and the children.”

Their latest fundraising efforts include launching an online writing competition and a bookselling service.

“It has been challenging to come up with good fundraising ideas during lockdown, because we have to do it all online. But we are excited about the online writing competition because we get to incorporate young creatives and a good cause. Having a prize for the winner has been a good way to encourage more people to participate – and subsequently donate their money to the organisation we are supporting.

“Book selling was another fundraising idea that we came up with because lots of us have old but high quality books that we no longer need. We know there are many children at home without much to do, especially during lockdown, so we thought that selling preloved books at a low price would be a fun and educational activity for them.”

Although juggling the AIDA Project with their school and other extracurricular activities can sometimes prove challenging, Anya says they feel more enthusiastic and motivated than ever.

“We all enjoy managing the project, so it is never a chore. Growing up, my parents always taught me to be grateful for what I have – a nice home, a loving family, and the opportunity to go to a good school. They taught me that I should give back to other people as well.

“I love being a part of the AIDA Project. It feels nice knowing that something I enjoy doing is helping others.”

To find out more about the AIDA Project visit their website or follow them on Instagram