Medan is the fourth largest city in Indonesia, with a population of over 2 million people. It is situated in the north of Sumatra, which is the island that makes up a large part of Indonesia's western section.
The city's location meant that it was not as badly affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as many other parts of the country. However, in the aftermath it took in a large number of refugees, and this continues to impact on life in the city.
The aftermath of the tsunami
The 2004 tsunami killed over 130,000 people throughout Indonesia and devastated the lives of many others, who lost their homes and livelihoods. People who fled the most affected areas often made their way to Medan, and a large number remain there to this day.
These individuals found themselves in an unfamiliar city with very few ties to the local community, which has meant that they have struggled to make a living. The disaster also separated thousands of children were from their families, who needed to be cared for and reunited with relatives.
Poor parents in Medan, refugees in particular, often struggle to eke out a living in a tough economic environment. Many are employed in the informal sector, which only offers a very volatile income and makes it difficult to provide for their children.
Poor parents find it very difficult to work and give their children the care and support they need. The strain that these families are under puts children at increased risk of being abandoned, so it is important to offer them the support they need to ease this pressure.
What is SOS Children doing in Medan?
We started working in Medan in 2004 providing relief and helping reunite children with their relatives following the destruction of the tsunami. Since then, we have continued to work with local communities to expand the support we offer.
Helping local families
Our family strengthening programme assists families who are at high risk of abandoning their children. We offer them advice and counselling to help them cope with the pressure they are under and care for their children.
We also provide a variety of essential services to children, including healthcare and education, and our day care centre gives parents practical help to balance the demands of work and child care.
New home for orphaned children
Children who can no longer stay with their parents are able to find a home in one of our SOS families. Here, they are cared for by their SOS mothers and are able to continue living with their brothers and sisters.
All these children attend local schools where they are able to make friends and learn social skills that will help them throughout their lives.
When children from SOS families are old enough they can join the SOS youth programme. Here, they are supported whilst they undertake vocational training or go into higher education and become increasingly independent.
Medan is home to growing children in need of your support today. Become a child sponsor, and transform a young life.