When disaster strikes, volunteers are an integral part of IPPF’s global response teams. In Indonesia, a country that has been ravaged by earthquakes and other natural disasters in recent years, volunteers like Dr. Ratni Palullungan provide lifesaving sexual and reproductive healthcare to those that need it most.
“I like being a humanitarian volunteer,” says Dr Ratni, who was part of the IPPA/PKBI response team to the West Sulawesi earthquake in January 2021. “We are focused on counselling, mainly reproductive health counselling and are mainly concerned with teenagers and mothers. We help them become more aware of their reproductive health because it is very important.”
The rate of child marriages in West Sulawesi province was already among the highest in Indonesia, even before the earthquake hit. We know that rates of child marriage tend to increase after a disaster as parents in distress seek to secure girls’ sexual protection or increase economic survival through marriage.
By providing compassionate and high-quality counselling and care, volunteers like Dr. Ratni ensure that marginalized communities in particular have access to the advice and information they need.
Over the course of our six-month response in West Sulawesi, we reached over 11,000 people.
Youth in particular played an instrumental role as volunteers and helped us to reach over 3,700 young people between 10 and 24 years old.
“I really enjoy this work … it feels great because it works,” says Dr. Ratni.
Dedicated and passionate volunteers ensure IPPF has the largest global reach of any sexual and reproductive health organization. Hundreds of thousands work with the organization at grassroots level. They come from all kinds of backgrounds, and most have been directly affected by sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.
Today, and every day, we celebrate them.
Learn more about Dr. Ratni's role in the video below.
If you are interested in volunteering with us, approach your country’s Member Association.