Children Are Dreaming Now in Remote, Poverty-Stricken Areas of Indonesia

Story by Hutama Limarta, Compassion Indonesia photojournalist
Teacher in Laob

Laob Village

Bila is a pastor who has been serving in the village of Laob for 13 years.

Located in one of many remote areas in Indonesia, the village lacks proper roads, safe water, electricity and opportunity. The access road to this community is sometimes cut off by the rise of the river beside it.

The village’s problems aren’t limited to infrastructure. Spiritual growth was stagnant. Families fell apart. Joy was gone and people felt abandoned.

Yet Bila knew God’s Church was the answer.

In 2014, the church convinced the local authorities to build the first public school in the village — it even helped fund the project. Children began attending regularly, but too many would drop out because the school was far away or they were needed to do work to earn income or food for their families.

Bila knew more needed to be done.

In 2023, she asked Compassion to come to her village and start a program to bring a transformational change of mindset to the families in Laob.

This past year, 100 children have been welcomed into the Compassion program. Many of them are beginning to see their dreams as real possibilities.

“When a child in Laob said he wanted to be a doctor, his parents would tell him that it was impossible. We want to change that mindset,” says Raditya, Compassion’s program facilitator in the village.

One of the parents whose child was welcomed into the center is Amelda. Her husband left her several years ago, and she cares for her four children alone. Amelda says that having a Compassion center in her village and registering one of her children is a dream come true.

“I am grateful after having one of my children registered,” says Amelda. “Because instead of playing aimlessly in her free time, now she can receive educational care from the center.”

Hope is growing in Laob because God is showing the children he has a greater purpose for them.
Pastor in Taebone

Taebone Village

“The Church has to reach beyond its altar,” says Frans, a young pastor who has been serving in the village of Taebone in Indonesia for three years.

Taebone is a remote and dry village that’s difficult to access. It’s located nearly 62 miles east of Laob. It’s so remote that access to infrastructure like clean water and electricity is challenging. Water is most needed here because the area is much drier than the greener parts of the country. Rice, which grows abundantly in Indonesia, is considered a fancy food.

Almost every household in Taebone is supported by farming — growing corn, sweet potatoes, tamarind, bananas and lentils. Even though these plants require little water to grow, families still struggle to cultivate enough of these foods to feed themselves. And because water access is limited they can’t grow enough to sell in the market.

Poor nutrition from lack of food and clean water causes chronic health problems. There’s been no medical care, historically. And the people are isolated and limited in their opportunities because every other village is so far away. People tend to die earlier than they otherwise should.

The community seemed entirely hopeless when Frans moved there to start the church. But Frans knew God could change that. He knew he would need help though, so he reached out to Compassion to start a program at his church for the children in Taebone.

In the few short months since the Compassion center in Taebone has opened, more than 100 children have been welcomed into the program.

They receive education, nutritious food, medical checkups, treatments, counseling, encouragement to dream, and, best of all, the knowledge that God loves them and has a purpose for their lives.

Frans believes that the children and younger generations hold the key to transforming the entire community. They’ll be the ones to share hope with their parents and the older generation.

“If we fail to save a generation, then we will lose it all at once,” says Frans. Through the church’s partnerships with Compassion, Frans says the light has arrived, and it will only shine brighter as more children in his community, and in remote villages just like his, are released from poverty in Jesus’ name.