Lie Augustinus Dharmawan, also known by his childhood name Lie Tek Bie, was born as the fourth of eight children on the 16th of April in 1946 in Padang during a time when riots of the Indonesian people against the Dutch were in progress. When the violence of the riots peaked, the ethnic Chinese people in Sumatra, including Lie and his family, had to flee. In the course of the escape, Lie’s father died as well as his younger brother who suffered a dysentery attack and was only one year old (the fifth child).
After the death of his father, Lie’s family was going through hard times. Economic difficulties, witnessing the death of his younger brother as well as strong moral support from his mother pushed Lie to become a doctor since he was young. Although he had difficulties due to economic conditions, Lie never gave up pursuing his dream to become a doctor, he even dreamed of becoming a doctor who was educated in Germany.
Many universities in Indonesia rejected Lie because they assumed that he was not talented enough to be a doctor. Additionally, the only institution that accepted him was burnt down a few days after he started his studies. Despite this fact, Lie was never discouraged to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. After working hard in many different jobs, Lie had finally saved enough money to purchase a one-way ticket to Germany in April 1967.
Lie started off with a course in German language in October 1967 during the spring season at the Studienkolleg of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Freie Universität in West Berlin.
In 1974, he graduated by passing his state examination at the Freie Universität Berlin. In 1978, Lie finished his academic research successfully and was honored with a Ph.D (Dr. med.) degree from the medical school of the Freie Universität Berlin.
Besides studying and working hard to support himself, he also earned money in order to finance the educations of his younger siblings. After going through ups and downs for ten years, Lie finally graduated with four specializations: general surgery, thoracic surgery, cardiac surgery, and vascular surgery.
Aside from the academic field, Lie was and is also active in many organizations. He established the “Indonesian Medical Students Organization” (Mahasiswa Kedokteran Indonesia) in Berlin (1971) and became a senate representative for students from the Far East. He intended to invite all Indonesian students to be more proactive, and, following this agenda, he became an official of the “Indonesian Doctors Association” (Perhimpunan Dokter Indonesia) in West Germany (1981-1984).
The security of a life in Germany did not make Lie forget his initial dream of becoming a doctor to help a lot of people. Without hesitating, he moved back to Indonesia with his wife and children.
Once he arrived in Indonesia, Lie had to start again from scratch. He tried to find a place to start his career as a doctor in Indonesia but was rejected again everywhere. He was forced to change his name Lie Tek Bie to Lie Augustinus Dharmawan. Due to this incident, he became even more aware of the atmosphere in which a state discriminates its own citizens. This situation was incompatible with Lie’s political views.
Lie eventually got accepted in Semarang and had to work on probation for six months due to his foreign degree. After his successful probation, he could start working at the Rajawali hospital in Bandung.
In 1988, Lie’s career continued at the Husada hospital, Jakarta and since 2000 until this moment he has been the chief surgeon at the hospital. His first social activity as a surgeon in Indonesia was to operate a housekeeper free of charge in 1988. In 1992, Lie successfully performed the first open-heart surgery ever reported in a private hospital in Jakarta.
In 1998, Lie also decided to get involved in political reform movements initiated by students. He was participating in the students’ demonstrations every day after work because he wanted Indonesia to become a democratic country in the future and a better nation overall. He also became a speaker at a seminar in the course of the 50th anniversary of the UN human rights movement together with Prof. Ong Hok Ham while nobody else was willing to become a speaker.
The activities caused threats that forced Lie to flee to Germany on the 1st of April in 1999. In May 2000, he could come back again to his home country after the situation had calmed down and join the Chinese Indonesian Association (INTI). Through the Chinese Indonesia Association Lie continued various social services throughout Indonesia starting from the tsunami that hit Aceh and Nias in December 2005 and natural disasters in Bengkulu, Padang, as well as other places. This commitment convinced the members of INTI to select him as the chairman of the INTI health department (2005 - now) and the vice president of INTI Jakarta (2000 - now).
In order to intensify his efforts and follow his vision, Lie established doctorSHARE in 2009. The vision of Lie and doctorSHARE is to save lives and alleviate the suffering of many people who are trapped in crisis. Also, they should be empowered so they can obtain the ability to improve their own societies. Lie was and is the one who inspires young people in the organization, who are not only doctors, but also surgeons, nurses, and professionals such as journalists, administrators, photographers, graphic/web designers, information technology experts, entrepreneurs, social workers, and a number of individual donors.
Besides from providing medical services free of charge in many locations, doctorSHARE also runs other programs such as a Therapeutic Feeding Centre on Kei Island (South East Maluku), health counseling in cooperation with Care Channels Indonesia in East Jakarta, and The floating hospitals.
The idea of having a floating hospital came up when a mother and her 9 year old daughter, who suffered from a serious condition of squeezed intestine, approached Lie. They needed to sail for three days and two nights in order to reach Lie and receive medical help. This image continued to haunt his mind until he decided to establish Indonesia’s first private floating hospital together with the young people of doctorSHARE who named the ship ‘Dr. Lie Dharmawan’.
The floating hospital first sets sail on the16th of March in 2009. Meanwhile, it has served thousands of patients in various parts of Indonesia. The floating hospital is equipped with a variety of facilities such as surgery rooms, treatment rooms, x-ray, USG, and ECG (electrocardiogram). After the successful introduction of the first floating hospital, doctorSHARE did not hesitate to establish a second one (this time in cooperation with the Ekadharma Foundation). The ship was named RSA Nusa Waluya I. It was inaugurated by the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Drs. H. M. Jusuf Kalla.
The RSA Nusa Waluya I then carried out its first medical service mission to Jambi from the 21st to the 27th of November 2015.
Beyond the medical service missions with the floating hospitals, doctorSHARE also runs the Flying Doctors program to provide medical services for people living in remote areas which are unreachable for the floating hospitals. However, this is just the first step followed by other programs developed by doctorSHARE under the leadership of Dr. Lie who will never stop innovating in the field of health and beyond to achieve a healthy Indonesia.