The Irony: Displaced Children in Indonesia

 In News

Indonesia is the biggest archipelago on earth, and it’s developing fast.

We have more than 13,000 islands – beautiful islands, I might add. Indonesia is also called ‘a piece of heaven that falls to the earth’. You can find so many kinds of flora and fauna here and admire its amazing landscapes, beautiful mountains, calming seas, enjoyable beaches, and so on.

As time goes by, this heaven-on-earth changes. Deforestation, illegal-logging and damaged land get in the way. There are buildings everywhere. I go to a college in Depok, a city in Indonesia, and many old men there say that a very long time ago, Depok was green and covered in forest. It was so different to what I see now: department stores, apartments and other buildings.

There are other kinds of changes, too: demolition, which is currently happening in Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia). Why is this happening? Because there is no more space for the government or corporations or anyone else to build their skyscrapers, so they demolish residential areas.

But they aren’t calculating the impact of these developments, like people losing their homes and needing another place to stay. The demolitions don’t just bring on this physical loss, but also psychological pain, like tramua and stress.

Many children in Indonesia lose their homes this way, and as a result, they lose their chance to continue their studies in school

As I read on Bantuan Hukum’s website, an official branch of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, a victim of a demolition in Duri Tambora, an area in Jakarta, had to take his final test wearing his dirty clothes and sandals. When this child was asked by his teacher why he appeared that way, he felt ashamed to admit that his house had just been demolished. The children also lost their books and other school supplies, so they can’t even study on their own.

This is a human rights issue for the children in our country, and this kind of violation will affect these children’s confidence and prospects.

It’s ironic: one minute you see a tall, prestigious building, and then in the blink of an eye you see many children, with a soundless cry on their faces, homeless because of that same building.

A heaven-on-earth feels like hell to them.

I, fortunately, find that many volunteering events are held to help children get their rights and opportunities again so they can be like other children whose homes were not destroyed. I wish I could be one of the volunteers.

Submitted by Elisabeth Yosephine, a recent law school graduate. You can follow her on Twitter @elisabethym.

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