The Energy of Giving
Forbes Indonesia|April 2020
ANITA RATNASARI TANJUNG AIMS TO BREAK THE POVERTY CHAIN BY PROVIDING FREE EDUCATION THROUGH THE CT ARSA FOUNDATION.
Elisa Valenta

IN THE MORNING of Dec. 26, 2004, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck beneath the Indian Ocean near Aceh province, which generated a massive tsunami. The United States Geological Survey estimated the tsunami released the energy of 23,000 atomic bombs. It killed more than 230,000 people in more than a dozen countries. Indonesia was hit hardest: about 160,000 people were reported dead or missing and over half a million left homeless.

The aftermath caused heartbreak for many, including Anita Ratnasari Tanjung, founder and chairwoman of the CT ARSA Foundation. The fact that thousands of kids lost their parents and homes drove Anita to evacuate at least 500 children who survived the catastrophe directly from Aceh to Deli Serdang in North Sumatra. Anita’s husband, Chairul Tanjung, helped realize the rescue. “We took all the children to Deli Serdang directly, as I could see they were traumatized by the disaster. Most of them had lost their parents, homes, and some even drifted for days at sea. I couldn’t imagine,” says Anita (51).

In Deli Serdang, Anita built Rumah Anak Madani, an Islamic boarding house for children who survived the tsunami. (Rumah Anak Madani is the embryo of the CT ARSA Foundation High School). There, Anita not only provided a place to live for the kids, but also education and health care, as well as psychological assistance to help overcome the kids’ trauma. Over time, under the CT ARSA Foundation, Anita enhanced Rumah Anak Madani’s scope of work to help underprivileged kids who lived in nearby Deli Serdang and beyond; even as far as Palu, Central Sulawesi.

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