Stories of Change

Sarini and her daughters with their new WASH kit.

In emergency response, don’t forget the basics.

When disaster strikes, struggles follow. Some of these struggles are massive; for example, replacing a destroyed house or lost wages. But there’s also the consistent and grating struggles of meeting basic needs day in and day out.

This was certainly the case when a chain of disasters–an earthquake and then tsunamis and soil liquefaction–struck Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, in September 2018. The Indonesian government and many organizations like CWS immediately sprang into action to help families who lost homes and livelihoods. Estimates were that more than 200,000 people needed essential aid. Shelter and clean water were top priorities, and CWS helped deliver both. 

Another huge need was for hygiene supplies to protect people’s health. Things like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, detergent, towels and lidded water storage buckets were in high demand. Women and older girls also needed sanitary pads. Our team worked hard to ensure and early and continuing supply of these essentials to hundreds of families.

Sarini’s family was one that teamed up with CWS. Months after the disasters, they still haven’t been able to make up for their lost earnings or find new ways to earn a sufficient income. They aren’t able to buy their own hygiene supplies yet. In response to the needs of many families like Sarini’s, CWS distributed 1,500 more packages of hygiene supplies to families in June and July 2019. Sarini says that she has a whole new appreciation for soap after what her family has been through. Now she can wash her children, and their clothes. Her children have new toothbrushes and more toothpaste, which is actually quite expensive in the market. Even though months have passed, families are still struggling day-to-day. Unfortunately, there is less outside help. Noting this, Sarini said, “I am most grateful that my family and I are still alive. I am grateful, too, for CWS’s help.”