Indonesian Child Welfare Worker Answers Questions

The following questions were asked of a child welfare worker who has been helping Indonesian orphans since 2007. She is of Indonesian ethnicity but worked for many years in the United States before returning to Indonesia. In her comments she reflects on her extreme disappointment with the Jokowi administration. She also comments on the worsening social and political conditions in Indonesia, as she sees them. I found it very interesting, so decided to re-post it here.

You said that conditions are deteriorating in Indonesia. Does this relate to poverty and unemployment?

There’s definitely more unemployment. Almost every family I know have TKI or maids working in Jakarta sending cash back, otherwise they would not survive. Which is why I assume our government will not tackle the massive abuse issues facing maids at home, in Malaysia and in Arab nations.

Most the young people are underemployed rather than unemployed. By that I mean they are doing casual work as and when it arrives but of course that is cash in hand. The slow down in building projects must have put hundreds of thousands out of work- the mines, the same. Maybe millions.

One of the results is boredom and that is why we are seeing many social issues. Even FPI are bored young people mainly I think. Drinking smoking gambling abuse crime. all rising for certain, but the answer is not banning or caning people (ie fear) its creating real opportunities that give people real chance to grow out of the circle they have fallen in. (Hope and opportunity).

Crime, of course, is the hardest because we all witness our leaders getting away with it, and being bold with it too. Same with stopping violence; once a group gets away with it it then becomes normal. The Islamists show this daily.

Now poverty is an interesting one. Is it worse? I would say it is no better since work started for me in 2007. We see more orphans abandoned or rescued from child traffickers every year. But is that because there are more or more awareness of our work?

Sexploitation is however growing at a massive rate.  Schoolkids are being pimped even as young as 6, almost every week we see it and yet no-one gets charged.

Same with drugs I guess. We make a big deal about foreigners, but seem to ignore our own involvement instead painting ourselves as victims.

You only have to read some of the indigenous posters on newspaper comments sections to see how far that victim mentality and general lethargy extends.

Top it off with the state supported hate of LGBT and the constant fear. I sometimes long for America once again.

How bad is poverty in Indonesia?

Offical statistics show that 50%  of the population lives on less than $30 a month. But that only includes the official poor. The hidden poor, those with no registration, don’t even show on the stats. There are an estimated 20 million kids without birth certificates in this country.

What role, if any, does religion play in all this?

The religious people also try to stop education on condoms saying it promotes sex. The true pucture is there is so many unwanted babies and HIV as a result.

Men also can and do walk away from responsibilty which is why there are so many single mothers without any problem for the men.

Almost 20 percent of under 16 girls have had a baby and 15 percent are married by 14. They are often divorced by 18.

There are Mafia style groups that traffic women and children, and the religious people and police do nothing.

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