Displaced Ahmadiyah children tell of grief through letters to Jokowi

forgotten in the shelter. Ahmadiyya Muslims in Lombok, Indonesia

forgotten in the shelter. Ahmadiyya Muslims in Lombok, Indonesia

Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara | Archipelago | Fri, June 12 2015

Several displaced Ahmadiyah children at the Wisma Transito shelter in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, have told of their grief of living at a shelter for nine years through letters they wrote to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.As they had no idea of where the letters should be addressed, the children read out their letters to Jokowi in front of journalists from several media organizations in the front yard of Wisma Transito on Thursday.They hoped that their messages could be conveyed to Jokowi so that his administration would pay closer attention to the certainty of their fate.

“Pak Jokowi, we, the children at Transito, want to go home. Please listen to us. Thank you Pak Jokowi,” said Barahim, 8, an elementary school student who read out his short letter to Jokowi accompanied by friends.Barahim is just one of 24 children who were born at Wisma Transito since a number of Ahmadi took refuge there in the beginning of 2006.This is the ninth year that 33 Ahmadiyah families, which comprise 118 people, have lived at Wisma Transito. In February 2006, dozens of Ahmadiyah families were expelled by other locals from their homes in Ketapang hamlet, Gegerung village, Lingsar district, West Lombok.

Some of the 24 children born at Transito are now in elementary school. They can read and write and demonstrated this by expressing their feelings in a booklet hung on the wall of Wisma Transito. “This year is the ninth year we have taken refuge here. This year is also the ninth year we will spend the holy month of Ramadhan in the shelter. We all want to go home. We want to live normally like other people,” said Barahim’s father, Abdullah, 45.He said being displaced was tough. Moreover, they did not get assistance from the government despite their status as displaced persons.“I have to work to support my four children. I previously worked in construction, but there are very few construction projects now so I have to work as a scavenger,” he said.Munikah, 40, shared similar thoughts.“Our hopes are still the same. We want to go home. In our own homes, we can freely develop our finances and raise our children. But all this time we have had to be patient and it is likely that we will have to observe Ramadhan in refuge again,” she said. (ebf) –

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