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Providing help to those in need

It is often said that adversity brings out the best in people, and this could not be truer of ACG School Jakarta student, Anya Simanjuntak.


The big-hearted 17-year-old was keen to help ease the difficulties faced by many during the Covid-19 pandemic and singlehandedly took the initiative to create hundreds of protective facemasks, which she has donated to those in need.

“I decided to make masks and face shields because I discovered many non-medical workers weren’t provided with protective equipment,” explains the Year 12 student. “It became a rule that we all had to wear masks at the beginning of April, and I felt bad for the people who weren’t able to afford them.”

Anya has currently made over 600 masks for adults and children (and more than 100 face shields for babies), which she has donated to local hospitals and many in Dompu village. Plus, she is hoping to make at least 250 more masks during the summer break as part of her International Baccalaureate Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project.

Passionate about changing lives for the better, the philanthropic teen believes the leadership skills she has acquired at ACG School Jakarta have ensured she is well prepared to meet any challenges the future brings, and inspire others through her actions.

As a complete sewing novice, Anya began to educate herself about the process of making facemasks with the help of YouTube, and approached family and friends for donations of cloth. Initially taking 20 to 30 minutes to make each facemask, once the budding seamstress became familiar with the process, she was able to streamline production, working on batches of 50 masks at a time.

Extremely appreciative and thankful for the support of those who donated materials for the masks, Anya is understandably thrilled with the success of the project.

“I’m very grateful for the support of my aunts and my parents’ friends who have donated the cloth. I’m also very thankful for the support of my parents who were the source of my motivation.”

Enlisting the help of the American Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (AMCAM), Anya has been able to request fabric donations from wider audience through their AMCHAM CARES programme. Alongside friend and fellow ACG student, Devina Darmawan, she has also created an Instagram account (@maskeraaid) to appeal for materials and raise awareness about the role protective equipment plays.

“We want to encourage people to donate cloth, make posts about how to make the masks and provide additional information about the importance of wearing masks during this time. We hope to make more masks to donate to other people such as security guards, couriers, and those in underprivileged areas.”

Anya has learned a number of valuable lessons during the course of her philanthropic efforts.

“I’ve learnt that efforts don’t go unnoticed and that we should try to help others when we can. This project has enlightened me about the less fortunate people in Indonesia, such as those in Dompu village, and it makes me want to help more.”

“We are incredibly proud of Anya’s actions in providing protective equipment for underprivileged people in the community during this global pandemic,” says Principal Shawn Hutchinson. “She was able to motivate other students to support her cause helping those in need and she demonstrates our core values of excellence, partnerships, integrity and compassion on a daily basis.

“ACG School Jakarta is so fortunate to have such a wonderfully caring, thoughtful and internationally minded young person who makes every effort to support the people around her. We need more people like Anya in this world.”

Anya has supplied protective facemasks to the following organisations:

500 masks to the people working in Universitas Indonesia Hospital (Rumah Sakit Universitas Indonesia/RSUI)
100 masks to Klinik Wahana Asih (managed by Gereja Kristen Indonesia) that was distributed to underprivileged patients
70 masks for the children of Dompu Village in Nusa Tenggara Barat through Harapan Project
110 face shields to newborn babies in RSUD Tangerang and RSUD Bekasi through Donasi-30