Children in Indonesia

Indonesia’s geographical diversity and natural splendour make it a beautiful country to call home, but life is hard for its people. Poverty is widespread in rural areas, where mobility and trade are limited by poor roads and communication. Around a fifth of people in Indonesia do not have access to clean drinking water, mostly in the countryside. Many people move to the city in search of work, but migrants are often disappointed and vulnerable to trafficking for forced labour and prostitution.

Poverty forces millions of Indonesian children to abandon school and work instead to support their families. Often conditions are dire and pay is always appalling. Many young girls work as prostitutes, mainly after running away from home when early marriage fails. In rural parts, one in four children are forced to marry young, and often these marriages quickly end in divorce. Girls are unable to return to their families and many have no option but to turn to prostitution to make a living.

Our Children's Villages in Indonesia

SOS Children’s Villages began work in Indonesia in 1970, and we currently run eight Villages across the country, with a ninth in progress near Yogyakarta near the capital Jakarta. Across our eight Villages, we provide lone children with a loving mother and a home where they can live till they are ready for independent life.

We provide education and vocational training to children from our Villages as well as the surrounding areas, giving young people a sound footing for future success. We offer support to fragile families who might otherwise break apart, along with medical care to children who would otherwise suffer from treatable illnesses and malnutrition.

In Jakarta, we run a travelling resources centre – the SOS Playbus – which offers a new way to learn and play. For many of the children the Playbus visits, new books are a rarity, while the hands-on workshop-style development methods the Playbus delivers are an entirely new experience for these children.

In 2005, SOS Children launched its first family strengthening programmes in Indonesia. Working with local authorities, we aim to support families at risk of abandoning their children and to encourage them to stay together. The SOS social centre in Jakarta offers counselling and community support. The programmes are designed to ensure that children have access to essential services, such as education, health services and psychosocial therapy. Families are given food or assisted with income generation and they receive help when dealing with the authorities. By attending workshops and self-help groups, people’s parental skills and awareness of children’s rights are improved. In addition, the SOS nursery provides day care for up to 90 children. To parents who have to earn a living, it is very important to have professional care for their children, so that they are not forced to leave them unattended while they are at work.

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Lembang, Bandung

SOS Children's first Indonesian Children's Village was built in Lembang, near Bandung in western Java.


In 1984 we built a Village in Cibubur, on the outskirts of Jakarta.


Semarang was the site chosen for our next Children's Village in 1984. Located in the capital of central Java, on the north coast of the island, the Village has family homes for well over 100 children.


SOS Children's Village Bali is situated about 20 miles west of the island's capital of Denpasar.


Following a devastating earthquake on the island of Flores in December 1992, SOS Children's Villages built a Village in the town of Waturia, opening three years later in 1995.

SOS Children's Villages and the Boxing Day Tsunami

On the morning of 26 December 2004, a devastating tsunami caused by a massive earthquake struck coastal areas around the Indian Ocean. 130,000 people died in Indonesia and nearly 40,000 were reported as missing. Thousands of children were separated from their parents. The coastline between the cities of Banda Aceh and Meulaboh was the worst-affected area and many families fled the peninsula to seek refuge in nearby Medan.

SOS Children’s Villages was one of the first NGOs to offer support to the survivors in Aceh province after the tsunami struck and we continue to provide long-term assistance in the area. Many children were orphaned and the loss of homes, infrastructure and possessions continues to affect communities.

SOS Children’s Villages is still working to provide communities with the support they need to regain their lives, and has constructed three new Children’s Villages in the Aceh region. The Villages, each beginning with 15 houses, are located in Meulaboh, Medan and Banda Aceh and provide hundreds of children with new families. We also constructed three nurseries and two mosques, allowing the continuation of learning and the region’s proud spiritual tradition. Family support keeps fragile families together through financial support and expert guidance.

and caring home where they now live with their new siblings and SOS mother, who is also a tsunami survivor. They enjoy regular visits from their grandmother and are doing well at school.

Local contact

SOS Desa Taruna Indonesia

Jalan Sari Endah No. 9


40152 Bandung


Tel: +62/22/201 28 81

Fax: +62/22/201 10 26



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You can help children who have lost their parents. They may have been orphaned by AIDS, natural disaster or conflict. Poverty may have forced their parents to give them up, or they may have been separated from their family by war.