JAKARTA: Locals in Yogyakarta, a province of Indonesia’s Java, have turned to online chat rooms on WhatsApp to cope with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and provide solutions.
The first group was set up in March last year as the country’s first infections were reported.
Today, the movement has multiplied into 14 groups to address pandemic-related issues. One of the chat rooms helped communities set up shelters and neighborhood units to isolate coronavirus patients after hospitals in Yogyakarta’s Bantul district became overloaded following the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Another group, the Sonjo Tangguh, was formed in early January to help villages in Bantul crowdsource donations for mattresses and pillows, particularly for isolation facilities in 48 villages of the district, including Sumbermulyo, where a shelter house for 50 patients has also been set up.
“The shelter has been very useful for our village as the hospitals and district-run shelters were full, and we had villagers isolate. We were able to isolate those confirmed with infections but without any symptoms in the village-run shelters. As of today, we have 22 patients in isolation,” Ani Widayani, Sumbermulyo village chief, told Arab News on Sunday.
Rimawan Pradiptyo, who founded the Sonjo movement, said that each WhatsApp group established by Sonjo members, including the Sonjo Tangguh, was designed to help locals in the district amid the pandemic.
“Sonjo Tangguh was established when we saw that villages in Bantul needed about 446 mattresses and pillows to set up shelter facilities