In Indonesia's Papua 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 most 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 in Indonesia. 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
Homes of impoverished families in urban Sentani are typically made of cement blocks with metal roofs.
These dwellings usually must accommodate several members of an extended family.
In rural Wamena, homes are the traditional Papuan honai, a structure made of wood with a thatched roof.
As in the city, several relatives beyond the nuclear family typically live together.
Issues and Concerns
- The rising HIV/AIDS epidemic is a concern in both Sentani and Wamena.
- The tropical climate contributes to the proliferation of mosquitoes carrying malaria and dengue fever.
- Wamena lacks adequate sanitation. People use the nearby forest as their toilet, and without waste disposal, the health hazards are great.
- Among the Dani people in Wamena, the ancient tribal custom remains: men’s single responsibility in life is to wage war on other tribes. As a result, men today typically do little more than sit in the market, drinking, gambling and chatting, while women bear complete responsibility for earning an income and caring for the home. It is not unusual for men in this area to have more than one wife.
Local Needs and Challenges
The year-round tropical climate fosters the proliferation of malaria- and dengue-carrying mosquitoes.
The lack of adequate sanitation facilities, especially in rural Wamena, puts children’s health at risk.
Few opportunities exist for obtaining a quality education due to poorly equipped schools and unqualified teachers. In the city, children attend school an average of six years. In rural Wamena, the average attendance is two years.
Schools and Education
- On average, children in Sentani attend school for six years, with only 53 percent completing high school.
- In Wamena, where children often have to walk for miles to get to the nearest school, the average school attendance is two years. Fewer than half of the adults in this rural area can read or write.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
In partnership with local churches, Compassion brings much-needed hope to Papua Province’s children in need.
To fight malnutrition, children are provided healthy meals at their Compassion centers, and they receive the medical assistance that their parents cannot afford.
Children also learn good hygiene and sanitation practices.
At their centers, children receive the extra tutoring they need to make up for deficiencies in their schools.
In addition, they learn practical lessons based on the Compassion curriculum, adapted to their culture and needs, including how to live a healthy lifestyle and protect themselves from abuse.
Their spiritual life is also nurtured through prayer, Bible study and worship.
For parents, monthly meetings conducted by staff emphasize the importance of education and teach good parenting methods.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in Papua 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