By: Pera Soparianti
Since the Covid-19 case entered Indonesia in March 2020, there have been various impacts on various spaces of people’s lives. Including the Simpul Rahima community, which is a women ulema in four regions, namely West Java, Central Java, East Java, and the Special Region of Yogyakarta (DIY). Through a discussion with Simpul Rahima at the end of May 2020, a number of problems were found in its community, both in the educational environment, majelis taklim, and moslem boarding school (pesantren). These problems include problems with the operational costs of pesantren, decreased income for traders, and losses to farmers because their produce is bought at low prices.
In the background of this situation, Rahima and women ulema as part of Simpul Rahima carried out a number of initiatives to respond to the situation and restore community conditions during the pandemic. These initiatives include quick response assistance, preaching through online media, and strengthening the economy based on community.
In providing quick response assistance, Simpul Rahima from West Java, Central Java and East Java provided basic food and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and hand sanitizers. The assistance is allocated to those in need, such as the elderly, children, victims of layoffs, and people with weak economies. This assistance is a collaboration with Jaringan Perempuan Peduli Kesehatan (JP2K) – the Health Care Women’s Network.
Simpul Rahima was also encouraged to conduct lectures online via the Swararahima dotcom Youtube channel, as a response to the Covid-19 situation in the community. Issues raised, such as cooperation within the household, care, women’s leadership, prevention of violence against women, incarceration, and others.
In addition, Rahima, who is part of the We Lead network, received support for strengthening Simpul Rahima in carrying out the economic initiative based on community in three highly impactful communities, namely Sumenep, Purworejo, and Cianjur. Raudlatun and her community (majelis taklim) in Sumenep, took the initiative to make herbal medicine (jamu) from local plants. The idea of a herbal medicine business is a response to the abundance of raw materials for making herbal medicine and to maintain immunity, especially during a pandemic. The proceeds of this business are then used as a joint cash which is managed together with the community as an effort to strengthen women’s livelihoods.
As for Simpul Rahima’s from Purworejo, Ratna Ulfah and the female head of the family received business capital support, most of whom worked as traders. Through this venture capital, the profits earned will be managed into mutual funds with members of the majelis taklim. Meanwhile, Simpul Rahima from Cianjur, Fatimah and her community used coconut fruit to become a coconut oil product. The various supports that Simpul Rahima have undertaken are an effort to encourage collective power amid the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic for women’s living.
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