Supporting the most vulnerable people affected by Covid-19 in Indonesia

CBM’s partner in Indonesia distributing basic needs and hygiene kits, in collaboration with village cadres and leaders in Siraman Village, Gunungkidul, Indonesia.

COVID-19 was reported to have spread to Indonesia on 2 March 2020, when the government announced the first coronavirus cases in the country. By 11th May 2020, cases of coronavirus have rapidly increased to over 14,000, spreading to all 34 provinces, and the death toll stands at just under 1,000 people.

Our work

CBM’s new 9-month programme in Indonesia aims to reach the most vulnerable people affected by Covid-19, including people with disabilities, to support them through the crisis. We will be working through our partners with the Indonesian government, and Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs), to ensure that people with disabilities can access vital support and information.

In the film below, CBM Indonesia Disability Inclusion Advisor, Cucu Saidah, reports how Covid-19 is negatively affecting the lives of people with disabilities and what CBM is doing to change this:


Ensuring information about Covid-19 is accessible to all

The government of Indonesia have released a number of policies and regulations to prevent spread of the virus, but a rapid survey carried out by CBM and over 70 Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) in Indonesia showed that 56.5% people with disabilities do not know how to access this information. Miscommunication and misinterpretation of information has also led to people with Covid-19 being discriminated against by their communities.

One of our partners and DPO, SIGAB, is developing accessible resources around prevention and treatment of Covid-19, as well as social protection programmes for people with disabilities. CBM has also adapted guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide practical guidance for people with disabilities and their families.

“What we need is information which educate us instead of makes us afraid. Like how we are blind people having physical guide from personal assistant since we are now asked to apply physical distancing.” – Rizky

Rizky wearing glasses smiling

“I feel anxious, but if I got any information about corona, I will confirm it before making any decision” – Marsudi

Marsudi holding a crutch sitting on a wooden chair outside

Supporting hospitals to treat people with Covid-19, including ensuring access for people with disabilities

According to WHO data in 2017, Indonesia only has one hospital bed for every 1,000 people, four doctors for every 10,000 people. Health resources in Indonesia were already stretched prior to the coronavirus outbreak, dealing with the elimination of tuberculosis, malaria and prevention of dengue outbreaks.

With Indonesia facing a significant shortage of hospital beds, medical staff and intensive care facilities, CBM is supporting hospitals, to provide treatment for more patients, in particular people with disabilities. This includes providing ventilators and other equipment for Intensive Care Units, training health workers in Covid-19 safety procedures and equipping them with appropriate PPE and developing online health services and psychosocial support. 

“We cancelled all meetings and therapy activities. Almost all self-help group members have their home business, a small grocery shop, and they are now having income decrease since most of people do not go out for direct shopping.” – Sumarsih

Sumarsih smiling sitting down

Providing financial support and aid packages for the most at-risk households, including people with disabilities

In Indonesia, most people with disabilities are working in informal sectors, such as selling arts and crafts or food. According to a survey of 1,244 people, around 47.6% of them are losing their income due to Covid-19. 

Due to movement and social distancing restrictions, many people unable to work and are struggling to cover basic household needs. We are supplying medicines and hygiene kits for people living with disabilities and those most at-risk and providing financial assistance so that families, including people with disabilities, can buy essential household items.  

“I feel a bit afraid of infected corona virus when I must access public services such as health centre food stores or public transportation. Now if my family and I feel un-well, we just go to nearest small pharmacy to buy meds.” – Desy

Desy smiling

Nita and her husband have a sewing business, which is their only source of income for their family. They used to get orders from their neighbours and others visiting, but once Covid-19 hit their village in Indonesia, the orders reduced dramatically, due to government restrictions on travel and social distancing. Nita’s family have received aid packages from CBM.

Nita cooking on the floor

Ensuring people with disabilities aren’t forgotten

Together with Indonesian DPOs, we’re carrying out a rapid assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on people with disabilities – this will provide vital information to inform the Indonesian government and other humanitarian actors, so that their needs are not forgotten and can be addressed.

We’re also supporting the Indonesian government to include Disabled People’s Organisations in disaster response meetings, so that they understand the barriers facing people living with disabilities. This will also make help ensure all information produced and policies issued are inclusive to all, so that people with disabilities have the knowledge they need to protect themselves from Covid-19.

As part of CBM’s Covid-19 response in Indonesia, Fitriani, who has a physical disability, is sewing masks to be distributed for other people living with disabilities in her community.

Fitriani sewing with a sewing machine

Find out how you can support the most vulnerable people affected by Covid-19 (open in new tab).

Top image: CBM’s partner in Indonesia distributing basic needs and hygiene kits, in collaboration with village cadres and leaders in Siraman Village, Gunungkidul, Indonesia.


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