Footy in the backstreets of Central Jakarta
On a Friday morning in a shaded park on the backstreets of Pegangsaan, Central Jakarta the kids from the Children’s Activity Centre or Pusat Kegiatan Anak (PKA) had their first try at Australian Rules Football (AFL). More frequently referred to as footy the sport has been in Jakarta since 1995. Indonesia has four clubs across the archipelago, two in Jakarta, one in Bali and one in Balikpapan.
The kids learnt about hand-balling, kicking and marks—all terms for the way the ball is handled during play.
While it is reasonably common to see kids kicking around a soccer ball in limited spaces the arrival of the oval shaped football at PKA immediately raised questions on how to handle it. When you kick it does it bounce everywhere?
Jakarta is deprived of wide open grassy spaces for children to run around in. Sporting grounds are limited, nowhere near the capacity that a population this size would demand.
The little park in Pegangsaan, Taman Amir Hamzah, is the best available in the vicinity. It is surrounded by roads, paved as a volleyball court and nowhere near the length of a sporting field but the children were still able to engage in some drill exercises there.
One of the rights of children is to be able to play. Unicef defines this by stating “Every child has the right to relax, play and meet with other groups of children as long as this does not harm others or stop others from enjoying their rights.”
Play using ball sports has additional benefits. Ball sports aid in the development of balance and hand-eye coordination. Awareness of posture, improved motor skills, increased self-confidence, muscle and bone development and spatial awareness through judging distances are all additional benefits of ball sports.
The next time you see a child on a street corner begging or busking for money remember that this is considered as work. This is not play and they are being deprived of natural play time by having to work. It is their parents, those that should care for them the most who push them out on the streets to earn a living. Don’t hand over your money. If you do it only keeps them there on the streets.
Campaign with us to stop giving money. Campaign with us for their right to play.
Tweet about children’s rights, be our friend on our Sahabat Anak f acebook page or visit our website at sahabatanak.org to find ways you can help support our organization and others that actively stand up for the rights of children.