As one of 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) key points promoted by the United Nations, ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages is a very essential step in achieving the totality of goals. According to Badan Statistik Yogyakarta, in 2015 alone, 39.6% of Yogyakarta total population (3,457,491 people) had health related complain every one month. 48.2% of those complainants, had an average of 5 working days disturbed. In other words, almost 659,938 people had to postpone their work every 5 days due to health issues. This numbers puts the importance of health and hygiene promotion to perspective because it correlates positively with a society’s welfare.
Three international students, namely; Tim BÜettner, Tim Kalmbach, and Mohammad Algisch, joined an UGM SCS-CEL unit working in Sidorejo Village in Kulonprogo during August 2015 to help increase locals awareness to health and hygiene. Their effort was made possible by the collaboration of 26 other Indonesian UGM students coming from different faculties who shared the same concern for the ±400 village inhabitants.
As told by Mohammad, his sub unit which was mostly consisted of medical students, was responsible to conduct a medical checkup in kindergartens consisting of baby weighting, and basic health checkups. Consultations regarding child care was also given to increase the local’s knowledge on how to properly raise a child in with a healthy environment.
A slight different approach from Mohammad’s sub unit approach, Tim Buettner and Tim Kalmbach’s sub unit decided to organize a football tournament to promote a healthy and active lifestyle for Sidorejo youngsters. The “Bule Cup” took place over four days with contestants coming from four other villages. After losing at the first stage, they then supported the other groups competing for the number one position.
Locals also had the opportunity to introduce all three international students to their day by day duties. In the mornings, Mohammad enjoyed the company of several kids as they taught him how to fish traditionally. Tim Kalmbach and Tim Buettner, in the other hand, got the opportunity to learn rice milling process. They were able to observe and participate in each step from drying the paddy to packing them into sacks. This process was especially interesting as they only have packed up rice in supermarkets.
All three international students took great pleasure in providing the Sidorejo villagers with information needed regarding health issues. Through SCS-CEL UGM, Tim Butnner, Tim Kalmbach, and Mohammad Algisch have experienced the purest form of cultural exchange in which they’ve also learnt the simple joy of living in a small Indonesian rural area.