Jumat, 02 Desember 2016


Jakarta, Dec 2, 2016 (Antara) - It takes a village to raise a child, according to an African proverb that leverages the cultural context and belief that it takes an entire community to raise a child.
         To deal with the problem of street children in particular, the Social Affairs Ministry alone is not enough. The cause needs cross-ministerial coordination, among other things, to return the children to their homes so that they can live decently.
         Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa recently informed that an MOU among multiple ministries and community elements was signed on helping street children. 
    "We agreed today to have an MOU among multiple ministries and community elements. There is a commitment to achieve a street-children free Indonesia by 2017," the minister said during an event, named "Declaration Towards Street-Children Free Indonesia (MIBAJ) by 2017." The event was held at the National Monument (Monas), Central Jakarta, on Nov 28, 2016.
         This was in line with a commitment to achieving the target under the street-children free Indonesia program by 2017.
         In fact, the declaration about the program was made for the first time in 2015, and the latest event was to reiterate that determination.
         Among the ministries involved in the program are the Manpower Ministry, the Education Ministry, the Coordinating Ministry for Cultural and Human Development, and the Health Ministry.

         Various institutions and NGOs engaged in children protection are also involved in the program. 
    "We hope there will be a synergy between the government and the NGOs. We will return the children to their homes and schools. As the government has provided Smart Indonesian cards and Healthy Indonesian cards, we have to make sure that these children return to more conducive environment for their survival," she stressed.
         The declaration was voiced by the minister, together with hundreds of children and several regional heads.
         The number of street children in Indonesia's 16 provinces had reached 33,400 by 2015.
         Some six thousand children have so far benefited under the government's Child Social Welfare Program in 2016.
         The largest number of street children, totaling 7,600, were in Jakarta, followed by West Java and Central Java with some five thousand children each, and East Java around 2,000.
         She said street children are prone to exploitation as they are forced to earn money by others.
         "Based on cases that I found, when they are on the streets, they are potential victims of drug abuse," the minister remarked.
         Street children are also prone to sexual assaults.  According to the KPAI data, the number of cases of violence against children in the country increased significantly during 2011-2015.
         In 2011, the number of such cases of violence was 2,178, which increased to 3,512 in 2012, 4,311 in 2013, 5,066 in 2014, and 6,006 cases in 2015. From January to April 2016, there were 289 cases, up 18 percent from the same period in the previous year. Most of the cases involved sexual violence.
         One of the most complex challenges that street-connected children face is dealing with negative perceptions. This is reflected in how they are referred to. For instance in Costa Rica, street children are called "chapulines," meaning "grasshoppers" or "pests," and in the USA, they are called "throwaway kids."
    Living in the streets is tough and dangerous for children as they are prone to accidents, violence, human trafficking and sexual assaults.
         Such conditions are against the rights of children that are protected by national and international laws.
         The central government, local administrations and communities are responsible for helping street children, she remarked.
         "The most important is family because many children are forced to live on the streets due to problems in their families," the minister noted.
         Arum Ratnawati, national chief technical advisor of the International Labor Organization (ILO), said last May that the root of the problem of street children was the fact that a large number of people lived in poverty and forced their children to make ends meet on the street.
         "Another problem is law enforcement. We already have a law, protecting children from working on the streets, but the implementation needs to be improved," she was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.
         Indonesia observes the National Children's Day every July 23 to remind every element in the community that children are the most valuable asset that has to be protected jointly.
         Besides, children are the younger generation that will determine the future of the nation. ***4***

(T.F001/A/BESSR/Bustanuddin) 02-12-2016

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