In the eyes of the public, Dr. Andie, or how he is used to be called, is one of YCAB Foundation’s strikers – he gives speeches, monitors programs, attends meetings, and holds campaigns since our opening in 1999. Today, he tells Marcella Purnama his side of the story.
Graduated from Faculty of Medicine in University of Indonesia in 1985, Dr. Iskandar Irwan Hukom “Andie” first decided to study anaesthetics, although he ended up not finishing the course. He then ventured to the world of Pastoral Counselling in 1996, and later pursuing his doctorate counselling degree in 2010.
A man full of smile in his mid-50s, Dr. Andie welcomed me to his office, releasing small laughs throughout the chat. As YCAB’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), he had another activity scheduled in the next thirty minutes or so. However, 14 years back, he never thought of being this involved.
“I first met Veronica Colondam in 1998 who with her husband, Pieter Tanuri, thought of building a rehabilitation centre due to their concern about HIV/AIDS and drug use in Indonesia,” Dr. Andie says.
“One year later, Veronica Colondam called me again and said, ‘Doc, we have built an organisation, but it is not for rehabilitation, rather it is dedicated for prevention. Would you like to help us? Come to the office!’
“Then I asked, ‘What can I help you with?’ and she said YCAB needs medical expert to talk about the medical side of HIV/AIDS prevention. In the end, I did say yes, even though my heart still goes to rehabilitation.”
This father of three young adults then served as YCAB Vice President Campaign in the drugs prevention seminars held in Indonesia. In 2001, he officially joined YCAB Foundation until now as the Chief Operating Officer.
Surprisingly, with assumption that drug rehabilitation is in his DNA, Dr. Andie himself says with a laugh that he is not really sure what his passion is. Besides loving to bike and run, as he just finished a full marathon in Bali last year, he admits that things just fall into place, as he becomes more and more directed into handling HIV/AIDS and drug issues.
“If people ask me, ‘Why drugs?’ I also don’t have a concrete answer,” Dr. Andie says.
“In the beginning, I didn’t even handle drug issues. I was involved in handling people who are stressed, or in other words, psychiatric issues. Then, I raised an idea about making a drug rehabilitation centre in the psychiatric unit, as there was an alarming number of drug issues but so few rehabilitation centres.
“Over time, I’m learning by doing to handle drug issues.”
During his 14-year-involvement in YCAB Foundation, Dr. Andie has witnessed the birth of many new programs; some include the opening of Rumah Belajar Learning Centres and Economic Empowerment section. He believes that as YCAB is dealing with humans, it will keep on evolving, which includes expanding from having only drug prevention programs to educational and financial sustainability programs.
Dr. Andie then elaborates the story behind the birth of YCAB learning centres. Research data shows children who don’t have positive activities to do are very susceptible to fall on three things: violence, free sex, and drugs. As a result, YCAB thinks of a way to prevent these things from happening, which is by giving the children activities to do.
“The idea is simple,” Dr. Andie says.
“We thought of giving activities on which they can use to get work.”
When asked about his dream, Dr. Andie says as of a matter-of-factly that he wants to help those who are in his reach.
“My dream, generally, is to do my duties and responsibilities,” Dr. Andie says.
“I need to do what’s being given in front of me. I want to see young people to have the ability and knowledge to say no to things that can wreck their future.
“Even if I can’t reach many people, at least I can reach the people in front of me, for example my own children, or my colleagues here.”