Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Human Ladder Holds This Community Together

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Close to Jatinegara is the kampong area of Prumpung. Sahabat Anak established a tutorial area here in 2000 with 20 children attending. Now there are about 230 children who are involved and that number is in no way indicative of the amount of children who live here.

Goats graze in the cemetery at the entrance to the RT/04 kampong. The laneways are crowed, people live on top of each other, the waste water and rubbish flows in open drains outside doorways.

Currently, Sahabat Anak rents three learning houses that accommodate daily tutorial sessions, painting and music classes and a library.

The small library opens on weekdays. There is a library cart that the children push through the tiny overcrowded laneways of Prumpung, in the park or the nearby cemetery to deliver books to children who aren’t part of the study house. The library is run by a rotation of the high school children who attend the tutorial classes.

What happens well in this neighborhood is that the older children, high school aged children, mentor the younger ones, the primary school aged children.

Primary school aged children have lesson twice a week and Sundays are for the high school aged children. Saturday is for the kindergarten kids, as is painting. The older students are modeling good behaviors in supporting their younger counterparts. Some of these children attend school; some have grown up here and gone through this system eventually getting into University. One girl, in particular, relays her story of going to University and struggling with her business course as the text books are in English.

We, the Sahabat Anak community supports these short falls as best as we can with the volunteers we have available. This is the fifth consecutive year Sahabat Anak Prumpung has run an English competition for the 13-17 year olds. The competition went for a month with stages that include a spelling bee, a quiz, singing a song, reading a poem and translating an article. 35 children competed this year and the finals were held on 6 October.  Part of last year’s prize was a trip for the final nine to West Java. This year they went to one of the Seribu Islands.

The children of this area are very aware of their surroundings. Two teams competed in the KADO entrepreneurial project that Sahabat Anak ran with 40 groups of street children around Jakarta earlier this year.  Both of Prumpung’s teams made into the final 10 and one of those teams came out a clear winner of the competition.

One very obvious theme ran through the projects and that was of environment. Why?

Along one side of this overcrowded kampong runs a creek literally choked with rubbish. The opposite side of the creek is the site of a new building development – apartments. No wonder the children of this area have a focus on environment because in essence they are living in a rubbish tip. They want to draw attention to their dying home. People pump and use the ground water that will be tainted with the decay and rot that clogs the creek bed.

But in the midst of, and despite, the overcrowding and filth we find the true human spirit of helping others being offered from one generation to the next. What we see is a dedicated group of adults who help children who in turn help younger children.

This is the human ladder formed to scale the shortfalls in our society so our children can make their way out of this environment into a more aware and enlightened future.

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Tangga Manusia Penyokong Komunitas

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Di dekat wilayah Jatinegara terdapat sebuah kampung yang bernama kampung Prumpung. Sahabat Anak (SA) telah mendirikan area binaan disini pada tahun 2000 sebanyak 20 adik yang bergabung. Sekarang ada sekitar 230 adik yang terlibat dan jumlah tersebut sama sekali tidak menunjukkan jumlah anak-anak yang tinggal disini.

Kambing-kambing terlihat memakan rerumputan yang ada di pemakaman pada pintu masuk kampung ini di RT 04. Ayam jantan berkokok, masyarakat hidup akrab satu sama lain, air limbah dan sampah mengalir di saluran air.

Saat ini SA menyewa tiga rumah untuk adik-adik yang ingin belajar dan setiap harinya ada sesi masing-masing, diantaranya; kelas melukis, kelas musik dan perpustakaan atau disebut gerobak pintar.

Gerobak Pintar dibuka pada hari kerja. Gerobak Pintar di jalankan oleh adik-adik  SMA di Prumpung di taman dekat pemakaman dan disanalah tempat untuk memberikan buku-buku untuk dibaca kepada adik-adik lain yang bukan merupakan bagian dari rumah belajar.

Hal baik yang terjadi dalam lingkungan ini adalah bahwa adik-adik yang usianya lebih tua seperti yang telah duduk di bangku SMA mengarahkan/ mengajari adik-adik yang usianya lebih muda, yaitu anak-anak Sekolah Dasar.

Adik-adik usia sekolah dasar mengikuti kegiatan bimbingan belajar dua kali seminggu dan hari minggu adalah untuk adik usia sekolah menengah. Hari Sabtu untuk adik-adik TK, seperti kelas menggambar. Sedangkan adik-adik yang usianya lebih tua memberikan contoh yang baik.  Beberapa dari mereka mengikuti pendidikan di sekolah dan sebagian lainnya berkembang melalui sistem belajar di sini sampai akhirnya mencapai pendidikan di Universitas. Ada salah satu adik yang saat ini duduk di bangku kuliah dan tetap berjuang dalam kuliah bisnisnya yang menggunakan materi ajar berbahasa Inggris.

Komunitas Sahabat Anak mendukung kegiatan ini sepenuhnya dan melakukan yang terbaik bersama para relawan. Ini adalah tahun kelima berturut-turut SA mengadakan kompetisi bahasa inggris untuk usia 13-17 tahun. Kompetisi ini berlangsung selama satu bulan meliputi lomba mengeja, kuis, bernyanyi, membaca puisi dan menerjemahkan artikel. Tiga puluh lima adik mengikuti kompetisi tahun ini dan sesi final digelar pada tanggal 6 Oktober 2013. Salah satu hadiah dari perlombaan tahun lalu untuk ke Sembilan finalis adalah  liburan ke Jawa barat. Tahun ini mereka pergi ke salah satu pulau di kepulauan seribu.

Adik-adik SA Prumpung sangat peduli dengan lingkungan mereka. Dua tim berkompentisi dalam proyek KADO  yang dilaksanakan SA dengan 40 kelompok anak jalanan di wilayah Jakarta dan sekitarnya pada awal tahun ini. Dari 10 finalis, kedua tim Prumpung keluar sebagai pemenang.

Salah satu tema yang sangat jelas terlihat dalam projek ini adalah lingkungan, mengapa?

Sepanjang sisi sungai yang berada di kampung ini penuh dengan sampah.  Di sisi lain yang berlawanan adalah berdirinya bangunan baru – Apartmen. Tak heran adik-adik di llingkungan ini memiliki fokus pada lingkungan karena mereka tinggal di daerah kumpulan sampah. Mereka ingin menarik perhatian bahwa keadaan lingkungan yang sekarat.  Orang memompa dan menggunakan air tanah yang tercemar oleh pembusukan sampah yang menyumbat sungai.

Meskipun di tengah kepadatan penduduk dan sampah, kita menemukan jiwa manusia sejati membantu orang lain yang diteruskan dari generasi ke generasi lainnya.  Kita melihat sekelompok orang dewasa yang berdedikasi untuk menolong adik-adik, yang kemudian menolong kembali adik-adik lainnya. Inillah “tangga manusia” (human ladder) yang membantu meningkatkan kondisi masyarakat kita, sehingga anak-anak dapat keluar dari lingkungan ini menuju masa depan yang lebih cerah.

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Birth certificates – Logistics

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On 30 April, 2013 in a Judicial Review it was determined in the Constitutional Court that some phrases in birth certificate-related legislation (administration and population law) from 2006 have no legally binding effect. While this is a small step in recognizing the obstacles within government it is still a long way from the solution.

Then, there is a whole other side.  That is, the awareness of parents of the importance of a birth certificate.

For low and no income families their challenges are amplified. Often the parents are illiterate, the process of getting a birth certificate is hard to understand and even harder to do. Their awareness is by word of mouth and tales of high fees close the efforts down very quickly. Misinformation effectively stands in the way of proper health care and education for their children.  And the reality for those people who live on the fringes of society, under bridges, beside train tracks and in slum areas, day-to-day living is the all consuming struggle and their only priority to survive. The here and now, not the future – the future is just a dream.

Some parents don’t have birth certificates themselves. They didn’t need one and can’t see the value in having a birth certificate. Even though public schooling in Indonesia is free the costs of books, uniforms, registration fees, exam fees, money for school trips all add up. Families of low or no income can’t afford to meet these costs so the fact that the children can’t be registered for school because they don’t have a birth certificate only reinforces the reason not to send them.  This then leaves the children exposed to child labor and begging for a living.

The cycle continues from generation to generation. Late last year three street children each won a trip to Malaysia. Two out of the three winners weren’t able to go. Why? They didn’t have a passport. Why? They never had a birth certificate. An opportunity of a lifetime won by the talent they possess and it couldn’t be redeemed.

Shortly, another life changing event will be available to a handful of street children when they are chosen to represent their country in the Street Children’s World Cup next year in Brazil. They will face exactly the same challenge.

You need supporting documents to get a birth certificate for your child in Indonesia.

  1. A birth recognition letter is from the hospital stating the date and time of birth of the child. Unicef tells us that more than 84 per cent of the lowest income mothers give birth at home. The cost of a hospital or clinic stay is why most of these mothers give birth at home.
  2. A birth statement report from the local village administration – unless the family goes seeking this it isn’t forthcoming in many areas. In Jakarta, the families that live under bridges, on the fringes of society, aren’t considered as being part of the neighborhood or community. They don’t have a fixed address or a front door to knock on. Due to their personal circumstances they often keep low profiles not wanting to draw attention to themselves and their situation. They purposefully disengage from society because they feel they can’t contribute.
  3. A family identity card is available to married parents to show that they are a family but this becomes a hurdle because of the marriage certificate required to get it. Family identity cards are only available for people who can tick the box as belonging to one of the six recognized faiths of Indonesia.
  4. Parents divorce or marriage certificates are again a rarity in marginalized communities because of the fees involved in registration. Single parent families can’t meet this criterion regardless. Not to mention the total inability for victims of rape.

Now, let’s look at the issue from a different angle. Indonesia loves technology. Indonesian’s everywhere have mobile phones, are busy taking photos, are active on Facebook and are busy tweeting or messaging with their Blackberry. There are street children with Facebook accounts. As these children grow and are exposed more and more to a growing world of technology there is also a growing irony.

In this age of everything cyber and electronic the cry of identity theft is on the increase. The irony and only silver lining for the children and young people in Indonesia without birth certificates is that they are guaranteed to never being exposed to identity theft.

Their identity has never been established so it can’t be stolen. You can’t lose what you never had.

Michelle Unwin (Sahabat Anak’s PR)

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