Friday, March 18, 2005

Shelter for street children is closed.

There are now over 2000 street kids in Semarang.

A shelter was established in early 1997 as a joint project between the United Nations Development Program, the Indonesian Department of Welfare, and local charities. Shelters were set up in all major cities with enough funding for two years of operation.

Seven months after it started, the Semarang shelter closed its doors.

Politics and corruption closed the shelter. In July 1997, the shelter's guardian quit in disgust at the corrupt management practices of the local Welfare Department.

Without any officers to monitor the shelter, local thugs moved in, and the children moved back onto the streets.

Another shelter in Semarang had also been forced to close its doors after being attacked in a midnight raid by local thugs.

The national authorities as well as regional and local authorities have little patience for the plight of street children.

Around 15,000 people are losing their jobs every day in Indonesia. As the economy contracts so too does the ability of the family to afford their children's welfare.

In August the Education Minister revealed that only 54% of school aged children had actually enrolled.

Research by the Jakarta based Atma Jaya University revealed that within the first three months of living on the streets in Indonesia children are sexually abused at least once.


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