Help for street children
Indonesia: According to the Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs, 40,000 homeless children are living in Indonesia, 11,000 of them in Jakarta alone. Family problems caused by divorce, disease or the death of a parent – or abject poverty – force the children to take to the streets. The street children project of our partner Kampus Diakonia Modern (KDM) provides a way out for these children and young people. Please support our project work with a donation!
Defenceless in the big city
KDM, a street children project, has existed since 1972. A number of the street children come from Jakarta, but many of them used to live in remote towns and villages. They are called railway boys because of their habit to hop on top of trains to get around in the city. After their arrival in Jakarta, they are drawn into a spiral of homelessness, drug abuse and sexual exploitation. Their daily lives are marred by violence and crime. When they fall ill, the children usually have no place to go for treatment.
The children in our project are between the ages of five and 15. Age is only of secondary importance to their rehabilitation, however. The essential aspect is how quickly KDM staff members can reach the children after they have run away from home.
What we do to help
- In Jakarta, many children and young people live on the streets.
Children who can be reintegrated into their homes are reunited with their families. But KDM often has to take responsibility for the children until they become independent.
The work of the street children project consists of four components: Staff members initially establish contact with the boys and girls, primarily at various railway stations where the street children spend their days. In addition to coloured pencils, paper and games, the KDM staff gives out food. KDM seeks to establish a trusted relationship as fast as possible. Since the visits regularly take place at the same location, the children often anticipate the street workers’ arrival. During these visits, the children are always invited to accompany the staff members to one of the KDM projects.
In the immediate vicinity of the children's village, in Pondok Gede, former KDM street children have opened a camping ground. This serves as a source of income for the former street children, but it is also a drop-in centre for newcomers. The children learn in an environment that is close to nature how to live in a group along with simple skills like cooking and cleaning.
Living in this camp means a life without drugs. During the time that they spend in these natural surroundings, many of them have to deal with withdrawal symptoms. Most street children sniff glue or are addicted to other drugs. After a few weeks, the younger children move to a KDM children's village, while the older ones are transferred to an agricultural training centre.
Settling in at the children's village
- At the children's village, boys and girls can be carefree.
For the younger girls and boys, the children's village is their first shelter after living on the streets. In addition to a primary and middle school, the village has a training centre that offers classes on how to work with wood and textiles as well as car repair and welding.
Approximately 100 children are living in the children's village. In addition to opportunities to attend school and receive training, the centre promotes the children's musical talents, in particular singing. The children's choir performs at a wide range of events outside the children's village.
Education changes everything
A number of older boys proceed directly to the agricultural training centre near Cileungsi, located between Jakarta and Bogor, roughly one hour's drive from the children's village. After the construction of an additional residential building, up to 20 boys can live here today. They cultivate vegetables, practice animal husbandry and receive schooling.
The children and young people who take part in the programme can be reintegrated into their families at any time, as long as this is consensual and all expectations are met.
Project No. 28061