Zakat (“charity”) is a cornerstone of the Islamic faith. It is the obligatory tax on an adult Muslim’s wealth, that is dedicated every year to helping the poor and needy. In Indonesia, with the largest Muslim population in the world, the potential of zakat for wealth distribution and social amelioration is huge. In 2015, the potential zakat collection was estimated at around three percent of Indonesia’s gross national product, or a total of at least USD28 billion. Yet, what was actually collected was only ten percent of this amount. The collection, management, and use of zakat have long been stymied by inefficiencies, corruption, and abuse. The government has worked to regulate zakat management but anxieties remain on questions of transparency, accountability, and effectiveness in serving the poor.
In 1993, Parni Hadi, editor-in-chief of the Indonesian newspaper Republika, started a modest zakat collection drive among the newspaper’s employees, that later expanded to include the paper’s readers and the general public. The results were so encouraging that Hadi and his colleagues formed DOMPET DHUAFA REPUBLIKA (DDR), or “Wallet of the Poor,” which was officially registered as a charity organization and zakat collector. With a strong sense of purpose, DDR sought to transform traditional zakat philanthropy for the poor from simple “charity” to “empowerment”—so that the poor could move from being dependent “recipients” of alms towards becoming wealth creators, and eventually “contributors” of alms themselves. So DDR moved zakat funds from customary practices of charitable giving to social development projects aimed at building self-reliant communities and capacitating the poor—Muslims and non-Muslims—through programs of economic assistance, health services, education and training, and diverse other activities.
Now independent of Republika and known simply as DD (short for “DOMPET DHUAFA”) the organization’s economic projects have included building public facilities, support for small and medium enterprises, farm production and marketing assistance, a bank providing preferential loans to the poor, and a training-and-support program that has upgraded the capacities of hundreds of microfinance groups in Indonesia. In the health sector, DD has established free clinics and a free, well-staffed, and well-equipped hospital for the poor that is the first of its kind in the country. In education, DD annually supports 400 poor university scholars; runs a free boarding high school for poor but deserving students; and operates a teacher training school, as well as a vocational and entrepreneurship center that trains a thousand people per year.
From the start, DD’s leaders have addressed the ills besetting the credibility and impact of the country’s zakat institutions: they scrupulously practice transparency and full accountability in their financial and governance systems, set and maintain professional standards in their zakat collection, and carefully target those in greatest need, and adopt marketing strategies that encourage and facilitate giving from Muslims within the country and elsewhere in the world. As a separate initiative DD has generously shared its expertise, training other zakat collection organizations to modernize their operations and professionalize the work of their zakat managers.
DOMPET DHUAFA has grown phenomenally to become the largest philanthropic organization in Indonesia today, in terms of donations received. In 2015, DD collected total donations equivalent to USD 20.2 million With offices in twelve Indonesian provinces and five foreign countries, DD’s 200 employees, and 10,000 volunteers have reached thirteen million beneficiaries as of 2015, of whom at least twenty percent have moved out of poverty. With the public trust it enjoys and its work in supporting other zakat organizations, DD continues to raise the level of zakat donations in Indonesia. But just as important, it has widened the space and opportunity for Indonesians, through zakat, to become “good Muslims.” It has created as well an inspiring model, for other nations and religions, of disciplined, sustainable faith-based development.
In electing DOMPET DHUAFA to receive the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes the organization and its leaders for redefining the landscape of zakat-based philanthropy in Indonesia, unleashing the potential of the Islamic faith to uplift, irrespective of their creed, the lives of millions.
We would like to convey our gratitude for the trust that Ramon Magsaysay Foundation has given to Dompet Dhuafa Republika in receiving this noble award, the Ramond Magsaysay Award 2016. I’m standing here today as the representative of Mr. Parni Hadi, our founder and chairman, who regrettably is unable to be present here this evening with us because he needs to have medical check-up as suggested by doctor.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just obtained the information that Dompet Dhuafa Republika is chosen to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award last July. The news definitely overjoyed us and added to our bliss, since per July 2016 Dompet Dhuafa Republika has reached its 23 years of age working for the people of Indonesia and the World. On 2nd of July 1993, inspired by the struggle carried out by the Corps Dakwah Pedesaan who continuously made an effort to resolve social issues in the poor area of Gunung Kidul, the founder of Dompet Dhuafa, Mr Parni Hadi, who also publisher and editor in chief of Republika Daily Newspaper decided to establish a caring program for the poor. The program that materialized as a rubric in the Republika Daily Newspaper was named Dompet Dhuafa. It was in 1994 where DD was established as a foundation and officially named Dompet Dhuafa Republika, abbreviated as DDR or just DD. It is an independent foundation, separated from the Republika management and any other political organization. To all journalists in the Republika Daily Newspaper, the responsibility to take part in social mission was a form of implementation of the prophetic mission. This is called Prophetic Journalism.
Dompet Dhuafa in Indonesian literally means Wallet/Purse for the Poor. It also stands for Donation for Destitutes (Dhuafa). DD means Dignity and Devotion. We are trying to uplift the dignity of the Poor as an action of Devotion to Allah, God, the Almighty.
We present this award to DD- Destitutes and Donors as our thanks of honor. DD is a manifestation of Prophetic Journalism (Journalism of Love). DD is an organization of LOVE for all human beings and all creatures.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dompet Dhuafa Republika has a strong ideal to encourage Zakat, Infaq, Shodaqoh and Waqf as one of solutions to resolve poverty problems and other social issues in Indonesia as a country with the largest Moslem population in the world. Dompet Dhuafa Republika attempts to develop a more professional zakat management so it can give more significant effect to the welfare of the people.
Since the starting of our endeavors in 1993, until today there are 128,000 donors that support Dompet Dhuafa’s activities. Their supports have given benefits to almost 13,000,000 poor people through 522 services, empowerment and advocacy programs in the field of economy, education, health and social. Yayasan Dompet Dhuafa has also been supported by dedications and sincerities of 10,000 volunteers. Dompet Dhuafa has opened branches and representative offices in 17 provinces in Indonesia and also in 5 countries. With no State territorial boundaries, Dompet Dhuafa Republika has also deployed a range of programs in 31 countries including taking part in helping the disasters victims in Illigan and Tacloban Philippine. With remarkable collaboration from various parties, it is worthy to be conveyed that the achievements accomplished by Dompet Dhuafa Republika are the results of hard-work, caring-work and the work of a lot of people since this organization was found.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we dedicate this award to all the poor people who have the passions and work-ethos to rise despite the limitations. We also would like to present this award to donors both individuals and institutional who have earnestly lend a hand and move together to lift up the dignity of the poor. We also wish to dedicate this award to all actuators of zakat institutions and social organizations to continue strengthening their devotions in creating a better society.