If you’re one of those people who got tired reading articles about COVID-19 pandemic and how selfish society has been reacting to the new normal, read this further. Because there’s still hope. And we can all take part of it no matter how small.
We are all aware how COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll everywhere. With a record high of more than 84k+ confirmed cases in Indonesia, many opportunities are lost, jobs are taken away, government seems incapable of navigating this, it’s just too blurry to see what’s coming next. While many of us have the privilege of staying sensible and prepared by taking steps to help contain the spread of the virus, the poor and the marginalized are the group of people who got hit the hardest. For them, it’s easier to think that life is just doomed. The only two options is either get ready to die hungry by staying home or get ready to die trying to find other jobs out there so you can provide for your family.
On the contrary, there are lots of restored humanity coming out of this pandemic and one of it is #BerbagiPrivilege, a social movement started by Monika Zendrato, because of her concern of this pandemic and wanting to help the less fortunate people in Greater Jakarta with basic needs (food/drink).
Monika Zendrato has a long track record in the Indonesian coffee industry. The Atma Jaya Catholic University graduate has more than 6 years of working experience in the coffee industry (plus, founded Marumon and Moffee as well), an Assessor for Competency at LSP Barista Indonesia, and also a recent 3rd winner of 2020 Indonesia Brewers Cup and 1st winner of 2019 West Regional of Indonesia Brewers Cup. Her passion for coffee is indisputable.
Thus, she started this movement by executing what she knows best. Distribute food and coffee.
“I acknowledge and realize the fact that I'm so fortunate of having the privilege where I am today; live in a decent house, basic needs all provided, and when I’m sick, I can go to the doctor/buy medicine. And COVID-19 hits. And it hits the hardest, because I’ve seen more people around me are struggling everyday just to provide themselves with basic needs like ‘what to eat today’, you know. It breaks my heart and bothers me so much. And all I wanted to do is to help,“ Monika shared.
On April 5th, she started posting this movement on a new Instagram account, Marumonyuk, because she knows this is the right platform to start since most of her followings are on Instagram. In the beginning, the concept is quite simple: donate by ordering homemade food/coffee from Moffee on Marumonyuk, or you can order for your own consumption. The first few weeks, food and coffee distribution are mostly for hospitals and health workers. Not long after, Monika setup a Tokopedia page for Marumon to provide easier access for people to buy/donate. She also learned that it’s easier to encourage people to buy and take part of the sales for donation. And instead of making her own food for distribution as what she had done previously, she pivoted the portion of her coffee sales by buying food from local wartegs/warungs around her neighborhood. That way, she can also help bringing in more sales to these wartegs/warungs.
In terms of food and coffee distribution, she does not work alone. She collaborated on few occasions with Jago ID and Love in The Streets. All food distributions are transparently shared on Marumonyuk Instagram account, in her effort to build trust and credibility of the movement.
Monika never once absent when it’s time to distribute food and coffee to the people in the streets. The one thing that moves her heart heavily is when seeing the reactions of people receiving the donation; even though it’s only 1 box of food and/or 1 cup of coffee. “Seeing the tears of joy and happiness from them when we give out the food and coffee, is just an indescribable experience,” she stated.
Running a social movement like Marumonyuk, however, also comes with its own challenges. According to Monika, most of it comes down to lack of consistency; both from getting people to donate on a regular basis and also operating and managing fluctuating orders from her end. She does everything by herself, so there’s also times when she feels like losing the motivation. On other challenges, she added,“First of all, I can't push people to donate, it has to come from them; their willingness and resources to give and donate. All I can do is to encourage them. Second, I would say trust. Marumon is a new movement, and I know a lot of people doubt it. That’s why I’ve tried to be as transparent as I can; announce when we’re distributing, where, and the results by capturing the photos. Third, how to reach more people to donate. I have little knowledge (and resources) to run proper social media marketing. So right now, I rely so much on my own networks.”
First of all, I can't push people to donate, it has to come from them; their willingness and resources to give and donate. All I can do is to encourage them
From it first started back in April, #BerbagiPrivilege has distributed more than 1,000 boxes of food to the people around Greater Jakarta area. For Monika, this is enough validation for her to continue the movement. When asked what she will do next post COVID-19 she added,“I'm planning to create a social enterprise and put Marumon & Moffee as brands under that enterprise. "Heart of Giving" will be the core value of this social enterprise with main mission to fight local hunger.
Let’s be reminded that majority of people live from paycheck to paycheck. Others, especially those in the informal sector, are probably far worse. Not everyone is equipped to prepare for this pandemic. What can we do to help and close the gap? We can start by showing support and help this movement, or any other movement similar to #BerbagiPrivilege which has also emerged, such as Donasi Sambil Jaga UMKM, a collaboration between #JagaUMKM, Wecare.id and Love in The Streets.
It takes less than the price of your favourite Cappuccino or Piccolo to donate and show support to help less privilege people around us. There’s still hope. And it is our duty, collectively, to keep the hope for humanity remains amid the COVID-19 anxiety.