In Indonesia's East Kalimantan Province
Geography & Climate
- Indonesia is an archipelago in Southeast Asia consisting of 17,508 islands (6,000 inhabited) and straddling the equator.
- It is the world’s largest country comprised solely of islands.
- The biggest islands are Sumatra, Java (the most populous), Bali, Kalimantan (Indonesia’s part of Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes), the Nusa Tenggara islands, the Moluccas Islands, and Irian Jaya (also called West Papua), the western part of New Guinea.
- Indonesia, part of the “ring of fire,” has the largest number of active volcanoes in the world. Java, for example, has 50 active volcanoes.
- The topography of Indonesia's islands varies but consists mainly of coastal lowlands. Some of Indonesia's larger islands (Sumatra and Java, for example) have large interior mountains.
- Natural disasters, especially earthquakes, are common. On Dec. 26, 2004, a 9.1 to 9.3 magnitude earthquake struck in the Indian Ocean, triggering a large tsunami that devastated many Indonesian islands.
- Indonesia’s climate is tropical with hot and humid weather in lower elevations. In the highlands, temperatures are more moderate.
Indonesia’s economy centers on agriculture and industry. The main agricultural products include rice, coffee, sugarcane, palm oil, poultry and pork.
Indonesia’s largest industrial products include petroleum, plywood, rubber, textiles and cement.
Indonesia’s economy is helped by its strategic location along major sea lanes from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Today Indonesia is a growing tourist hotspot because of its tropical landscape in places such as Bali.
The child labor (ages 5-14) rate stands at 7 percent.
The average annual household income is U.S.$5,000.
The population living below the poverty line is 11.7 percent.
Throughout the country, 16 percent of the population lives on U.S.$1.25 per day or less.
Children at Home
Many rural families in East Kalimantan live in traditional homes called lamins, small wood structures where multiple families live together.
Sometimes, four to 10 families live in a single lamin.
In the city of Samarinda, impoverished families live in structures made from a variety of materials, including cement blocks and metal sheeting.
As in rural homes, several members of an extended family usually live together.
Issues and Concerns
- Children commonly suffer from respiratory ailments, malaria and dengue fever.
- Most rural families live along the banks of the large Mahakam River, prime breeding ground for disease-carrying mosquitoes.
- They also use unsafe water from the river for drinking and cooking, which leads to such illnesses as typhoid and bacterial diarrhea – often deadly to young children.
- City dwellers also frequently suffer from illnesses resulting from impure water.
Local Needs and Challenges
Children from impoverished families often suffer from preventable illnesses because parents cannot afford medical help when their children get sick.
Public education in this province is inadequate, with few qualified teachers and a lack of books and supplies.
Schools and Education
- Children in this region start kindergarten at age 6.
- The quality of education in the public schools is insufficient, and few teachers are fully qualified for the job.
- In rural schools, children are required to wear uniforms, but most cannot afford shoes and attend classes barefoot.
- About 77 percent of children in rural areas and 94 percent in the city graduate from high school.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Through local church-based Compassion centers, East Kalimantan’s impoverished children receive the resources and learning opportunities they need to work toward a brighter future.
In monthly meetings with parents, center staff emphasize the importance of children’s education.
Staff share information about good parenting, and health workers discuss the importance of seeking professional medical care when children are sick.
To help fill the gap in the children’s education, special tutoring and learning activities are conducted on program activity days.
Regular worship, prayer and Bible study enable children to grow in their own relationship with God as well as influence their parents spiritually.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in East Kalimantan Province, providing them with:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- health and hygiene training
- access to special services like surgeries and disaster relief
- mentoring to help children discover their incredible value as God’s children