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More than a decade on, families in Indonesia still live with the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami. We opened three new Villages to care for children orphaned by the disaster. Today, we help families in eight locations provide a safe, stable upbringing for their children, and care for children with no-one else. … more about our charity work in Indonesia

A child’s happiness is all that matters

Arista has been raising children at the SOS Village in Jakarta, Indonesia, for nearly 20 years
Arista has been raising children at the SOS Village in Jakarta, Indonesia, for nearly 20 years

In the bustling city of Jakarta, Indonesia, Arista Saragih raises orphaned and abandoned children as her own. She has dedicated her life to the children at the SOS Village for nearly 20 years. Being a mother is not easy. Arista explains her inspiration is the happiness of her children.

She is mother to nine children in the Kemuning house at the Jakarta Village. Since the early ‘90s, Arista’s daily routine has consisted of cooking, cleaning, and bringing her children to school. Each morning the family prays together. When the children return from school, Arista asks them about their day. She offers them unconditional love and support so that they can each reach their full-potential.

“I never thought that I would be this happy. My child inspire me every day,” says Arista. “And, I am a grandmother to 14 grandchildren. I am so proud.”

Respecting the rights of her children 

For some children, accepting Arista was more challenging than for others. Arista explains the key is knowing each child’s personality to recognise the best approach to win their hearts. She is both firm and understanding as a mother. It is no surprise that her children feel comfortable to confide in her. She explains that she never lets anger take over and that she respects each child’s right to make their own decisions.  

“At the dinner table, the conversation flows freely. They can talk to me about everything: a new friend, a scary maths teacher, the projects they are working on and many other things,” says Arista. “The house is very lively when all the children are gathered together and exchange stories.”

The melody of parenting

Her days at the Village have been painted with both happiness and sadness. A hearthbreaking moment for her was when she was unable to provide music lesson for one of her sons. Christos, her eldest son, is passionate about music but he was unable to enroll in a piano course due to its high expense.

“It broke my heart to see Christo unable to work towards his dream. I never stopped believing that one day an opportunity would arise where he could continue his passion,” explains Arista.

An opportunity did arise however. The family received a donated keyboard. Day and night, Christos played the keyboard with his mum’s support. After years of self-practice, Christos is now a skilled organist and also plays the guitar and percussion.

“It was my dream to become a church organist even before I knew how to play. My SOS mum never stopped supporting me and giving me advice,” says Christos. “If it was not for her, I do not know where I would be today.” 

SOS Children is committed to the happiness of children. Our work protects the fundamental Rights of a Child. Learn more about the generous work SOS mother’s provide to vulnerable children around the world.