The Jakarta Barbarians Cricket Club (JBCC), established in 2012 by a bunch of blokes knocking about in and around the 'Big Durian', has positioned itself as the preeminent cricket club of Indonesia.
Although lacking any kind of silverware in its illustrious trophy cabinets, what the club has developed is a strong network of members from a diverse range of backgrounds and nations.
Coal barons, environmental scientists, IT sales, teachers; from the D-floors of Blok M to the heights of Pancawati, the club boasts members from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Netherlands, India, England and Indonesia.
Over the last two years the Club has welcomed three new members hailing from Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is for these new members that we seek you for support.
Azar (32), Medhi (22) and Mohib (24) are all UNCHR recognized refugees who have fled their home countries to seek a better life away from the violence and political repression of their home countries.
Indonesia is a common waypoint for many refugees to resettlement in one of Australia, New Zealand, USA or Canada.
Unfortunately for the almost 14,000 asylum seekers and refugees here in Indonesia their chances for resettlement are slim.
Immigration is a hot political issue in the US under Donald Trump and Australia has released a policy that means no refugees from Indonesia who arrived after 2014 will be resettled in the country.
The pressure is mounting on a system that is struggling to deal with needs of growing numbers of refugees.
For most who have made the journey here—usually via a network of people smugglers—Indonesia has become a place where they have become trapped in transit.
With Indonesia not being a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees, the rights of refugees awaiting resettlement in other countries are limited. Unable to work or study, life here can be become hard with the burden of an unknown future weighing heavily on the minds of many often leading to depression and a swathe of other mental health issues.
As all three of our boys would tell you, playing cricket is the one thing they have found here that provides a much needed social and mental break from their day-to-day situation. For them, playing for the Barbarians has not only provided them with an opportunity to meet new friends from all walks of life and cultures but to become integrated into a close knit family.
As it stands the JBCC and its regular members cover all costs for these guys to play cricket, including club fees, competition fees, club events, match day transport and food. More recently, some of the guys have fallen on harder times.
Not being able to work means that most refugees here rely on money sent from family overseas.
People are often not expecting to be stranded here for the many years that are inevitable under the current resettlement process, the harsh reality being that many could be stuck here for life.
Unfortunately, financial support often eventually dries up in many cases, with families unable to provide continued support. For refugees that find themselves in these situations there are few options.
Most try to enter the limited number of overcrowded immigration detention centers such as those at Kalideres in Jakarta where they will at least have food and shelter. Gaining entry into one of these centers can involve up to a six month wait sleeping rough on the streets outside of the center with hundreds of other people relying primarily on the kindness of strangers and NGOs for food and water.
This is the situation our good friend Azar now finds himself in and we need your help. Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, Azar’s family can no longer support him. Two months ago he made the tough decision to try and enter the Kalideres immigration center thinking he had no other options. At the height of the rainy season he was forced to sleep in a leaky tent on the footpath in an area near the Airport in west Jakarta.
Unable to abide seeing a fellow Barbarian subjected to such conditions we sent for him and have brought him to Bogor where he now stays in the garage of one of our members and is being looked after and provided for to the best of our abilities.
Medhi and Mohib, although still managing with minimal support from their families are also in need of help. Medhi requires an operation for a herniated testicle that causes him much pain and discomfort (also affecting his Wasim Akram like left arm pace blowing) and Mohib needs to see a specialist for issues with his kidneys. The money raised here will primarily be used to get Azar into some cheap accommodation of his own and to provide him with food and transport money in order to restore his independence. Money raised beyond the needs of Azar will be used to help the other guys where we can with medical assistance from some decent doctors. All funds raised will be managed and dispersed by the JBCC treasurer
So empty your piggy banks, forgo that deconstructed Vegemite on toast at your local café this week. No need to sell the silverware (though if we had any the club surely would), contributions from a big group of generous people would make a huge difference.