In Urban Java
Geography & Climate
- Indonesia is an archipelago in southeastern 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
The homes of impoverished Javanese families in urban slums are fragile, makeshift dwellings made of scrap materials.
Houses are typically crowded together along riverbanks and other precarious locations.
Highly polluted rivers, which often flood during the rainy season, make an unsanitary environment for children growing up in the slums.
Issues and Concerns
- The economic crisis, which began in Asia in mid-1997, deepened poverty levels in Indonesia. Today, nearly 18 percent of Indonesians find it difficult to meet their basic needs.
- The average income for a family ranges from $42 to $184 per month.
- Many impoverished people have moved from Java’s rural villages to the island’s cities in search of jobs.
- With few resources or marketable skills, migrant workers are unable to secure steady work, and they typically settle in the sprawling urban slums.
- Unsanitary conditions in the slums are particularly hazardous to children’s health.
- During certain months of the year, the threat of deadly mosquito-borne dengue fever is high.
Local Needs and Challenges
In Java’s urban slums, about 16 percent of homes lack proper sanitation, and frequent flooding typically leads to outbreaks of waterborne diseases.
The No. 1 cause of death in Indonesia is disease due to lack of safe water.
This affects one-fifth of Indonesia’s children under age 5.
Urban children are vulnerable to human traffickers. They desperately need a safe and secure environment, and God’s loving protection.
Schools and Education
Public education is free in Indonesia through the ninth grade. However, parents bear the burden of paying for children’s schoolbooks, supplies and uniforms.
Parents often have to contribute “support fees” to their children’s schools for basic maintenance and enhancements, which the government usually does not provide.
Education beyond the ninth grade is expensive and beyond the reach of most poor families.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to impoverished children in Java’s urban centers.
In addition to ensuring that children’s nutrition needs are met, Compassion centers provide health checkups and medical assistance.
Compassion centers also focus on ensuring children’s education by providing them the tuition, supplies and uniforms they need to attend school.
Extra tutoring helps them succeed in their academic efforts, and special funding by Compassion donors provides vocational training for older teens.
Most important, as help is given to children, doors are opened in communities for Compassion center and partner church staff to share the love of God.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in urban Java, 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