Aprisal Malale (MPP '20) speaks about his internship at Direct Relief in Indonesia to help those affected by the tsunami that hit his hometown and surrounding areas.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Aprisal.
I'm a second year MPP student, and I'm from Indonesia.
One year ago, September 4th, 2018- it is the 1st day I step my feet here at Weill Hall to pursue graduate study in public policy.
And then 25 days later, a 7.4 earthquake hit central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
It followed by 2 tsunamis and at least 3 little liquefactions.
That disaster destroyed centeral Sulawesi, my hometown.
It killed more than 4500 people, some of them are my friends, some of them are my neighbors.
And at least 173,000 men, women, children lost their homes.
5 months later, I received an e-mail from Direct Relief in Santa Barbara, California, offering an internship as a research intern for a disaster relief program.
Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization with a mission to improve the lives and health of people affected by disaster and poverty without regard to politics, religions, or ability to pay.
I was surprised to receive this e-mail because first, I was not applying for that position, and they actually created a specific position for me.
And the second because the disaster relief program was actually in Central Sulawesi, in my hometown.
My internship focused on two main things: the first one I have to analyze and map the disaster impact after 8 months and how the government policy were being implemented, especially in the area of housing, health, and international aid.
I travel across Central Sulawesi especially to the remote areas where government support seems unavailable.
I talk to the refugees asking them what is needed right now and the most pressing challenges they currently face.
And I have put all of my findings and document everything and create an interactive map using ArcGIS online for the public to see.
The second focus of my internship is to work together with local governments and communities and university to come up with a plan to build health care infrastructures.
I evaluated at least nine budget proposals from local governments, I drafted two get agreements, and two memorandums of understanding.
Yeah, I found that at the end of my internship I successfully organized a signing ceremony between Direct Relief, the vice president himself coming to Indonesia, and also the government of central Sulawesi province, and also government of Sigi Regency, Palu city, and Donggala Regency, and also University of Muhammadiyah.
All of these stakeholders, they finally agree, and I'm so happy for that.
They finally agreed to build a hospital and eight public health clinics in Central Sulawesi.
My takeaway from this internship- well apart from gaining 20 pounds for the last 8 weeks.
Probably the new interest that I found for what disaster management policy and it has grown since I started semester here in Ann Arbor.
Today September 17th 2019, one year later, I am standing here in front of you all.
And I'm wearing this traditional hand-woven clothes from central Sulawesi.
I'm celebrating one year studying public policy in the U.S., and I'm also mourning for the day the disaster happened in my hometown.
Central Sulawesi still has a lot of things to do to recover from the disaster, but I would like to take my last 10 seconds to extend my gratitude, especially to Ford School of Public Policy and also Graduate Career Services, for bringing me back to my hometown and also for Direct Relief.
For most importantly getting a new hope to Central Sulawesi.
Thank you and God bless you all.