Indonesian culture has been long been shaped by foriegn influences along with indigenous customs. Impoverished Indonesian families in Mandano, for example, ususally live in slum communties in small concrete homes with tin roofs.

Indonesia Manado Area

The Location


The Population


The Religion


The Weather

  • Manado’s children who live in poverty face many obstacles to growing up healthy and happy. East Indonesia child in doorway
  • Children receive special tutoring and classes at their Compassion-assisted child development centers to compensate for deficits in their schooling. East Indonesia children sitting at desks
  • Open-air markets in Manado are busy, colorful places. East Indonesia man selling produce
  • To combat malnutrition, Compassion-assisted children receive nutritious meals on a regular basis. East Indonesia young boy closeup
  • At their Compassion centers, children have the opportunity to play and enjoy just being kids. East Indonesia children on jungle gym
  • Children are encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God through prayer. East Indonesia praying girl

Overview: Manado

Located in southeastern Asia, north of Australia, Indonesia comprises 17,508 islands, 6,000 of which are inhabited. In total land area, Indonesia’s islands are about three times the size of Texas. The climate throughout the islands is tropical — hot and humid year round.

In territory, Sulawesi is the fourth-largest of Indonesia’s islands, and the 11th-largest island in the world. Its distinctive shape is dominated by four large peninsulas. The central part of the island has rugged mountains, so travel between the peninsulas is easier by water than by road. In the urban area of Manado on the northernmost peninsula, Compassion East Indonesia began in 2005 with the opening of 12 child development centers.

Manado is the capital of the island’s North Sulawesi province. It is located on the Bay of Manado and is surrounded by mountains. More than 400,000 people live in Manado.

The city is a melting pot of ethnic groups, including the Minahasa, Bugi and Makassar peoples, among many others. A variety of religions is also represented in the city, but unlike other areas of the island, there is little religious-based tension among the people here. Christianity, practiced by about half the population, is the dominant religion, with Islam practiced by about one-fourth of the city’s people. In Manado, the majority of people speak Indonesian with a distinctive Manado accent.

As in the United States, Manado has an annual Thanksgiving Day. On this day, people bring some of the crops they have grown to their local churches as a symbol of their gratitude to God.


Culture Corner

(Sweet Potato Puffs)

Try these tasty snacks, popular on the island of Sulawesi.


1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
¼ cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1½ tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
Oil for deep frying


Boil potatoes in large pot of water until cooked through.

Drain potatoes and mash them.

Return mashed potatoes to pot and cook over low heat until they begin to dry out.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Add remaining ingredients except the oil and beat until smooth. Heat oil in a deep fryer or large skillet. Drop large spoonfuls of batter into the oil and brown on both sides, turning occasionally. Remove from oil, place on paper towel, and let cool.


Life in Manado

Manado, a city of more than 400,000 people, is located on the tip of the northern peninsula of Sulawesi island. The city lies at the foot of Mount Klabat, which rises 6,634 feet. Manado is a trade center for the surrounding agricultural and lumber industries. Primary exports from the city include coffee, sugarcane, nutmeg and ebony.

The people of Manado are primarily of the Minhasa ethnicity and are the most Westernized of the island’s residents. A sizeable Chinese community exists in the city as well. Christianity is the dominant religion here, although Islam is also widely practiced.

Impoverished families in Manado live in slum communities, typically in small concrete homes with tin roofs. It is common to find several members of an extended family living in one house.

Children at Home

Homes of poor families in Manado are typically made of wood or cement blocks, with metal roofs. Each one usually houses several members of an extended family. A lack of clean sanitation facilities, along with a lack of knowledge of proper hygiene practices, means that children often suffer from illnesses that could easily be avoided.


Community Issues and Concerns east indonesia manado community

Typically, families in Manado make the equivalent of under $110 per month. But with average monthly expenses topping $130, they find it difficult to provide for all their children’s basic needs.

Also, because Manado is located at the convergence of three tectonic plates, the city is prone to earthquakes. In 2008 alone, 236 earthquakes above level 4 on the Richter scale were recorded. Flooding and landslides are also a common threat.

In Manado’s tropical climate, the mosquito-borne diseases of malaria and dengue fever affect most children. And because of the lack of adequate sanitation, children also commonly suffer from life-threatening bacterial diarrhea and other such preventable illnesses.

Local Needs and Challenges

Children from impoverished families in Manado have many needs. Disease and inadequate sanitation put children’s health at great risk. Most parents, however, cannot afford medical help when their children become ill. Often, earthquakes, flooding and landslides cause devastation to families living in fragile homes. And with poorly equipped and staffed public schools, education is sub-par in Manado.


Schools and Education east indonesia manado education

The school year in Manado runs from July to May. Children start school at age 6 and attend classes in split shifts, either in the morning or in the afternoon. Elementary school and secondary school each comprise six years. Classes are crowded and ill equipped, and the quality of public education is low.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

At the Compassion-assisted child development centers in Manado, children are receiving the help and learning opportunities they need to reach their potential in Christ. Along with nutritious meals for physical development, they also receive medical assistance and hygiene training to stay healthy. Tutoring helps to make up for any school deficiencies, and most important, they learn about the love of their heavenly Father.


Working Through the Local Church

Compassion believes that God’s purposes on Earth are accomplished through the church – including His purpose of bringing justice and mercy to the world’s poor and oppressed. That’s why in East Indonesia, as in every country where Compassion’s ministry is found, our program is carried out through local churches.

Our partner churches in East Indonesia are on the front lines, reaching into their communities to serve impoverished children and families. After all, who better than the local church understands the real needs of the people in its community?

It is our privilege and blessing to work alongside these committed partner churches in East Indonesia, encouraging, empowering and equipping them to meet children’s needs, in Jesus’ name.

How Compassion Works in East Indonesia east indonesia manado compassion in indonesia

Compassion’s work in East Indonesia began in 2005. Currently, more than 38,400 participate in 185 child development centers in eastern Indonesia.

Compassion partners with local churches, helping them provide East Indonesia’s children with a long-term program of physical, educational, social and spiritual development. Through this partnership between Compassion and local churches, children in need have the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all that God has created them to be.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

Partnership Facilitators are an important link between Compassion and the individual church partners that implement our program. In East Indonesia, each Partnership Facilitator oversees several local churches that operate Compassion-assisted child development centers.

Partnership Facilitators play a critical role in empowering local church partners to be the best they can be at meeting the needs of their communities’ children. Indonesians themselves, they understand the local reality of the churches they serve and are best able to represent the churches’ needs and challenges to the national Compassion office.

East Indonesia’s Partnership Facilitators are a team of workers selflessly dedicated to their demanding jobs. And they have a passion for seeing their country’s children in need released from poverty.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for strength and wisdom for the child development staff members, as they strive to serve children in need in Manado.
  • Pray for the health of children living in unsanitary environments.
  • Pray for the protection of children and families from earthquakes, landslides and flooding.
  • Pray for the parents and caregivers of Compassion-assisted children, who face unemployment or underemployment.