All Good Things Come to an End
This is my last week volunteering at Sahabat Anak. My husband and I have been in Jakarta for a year now. We always planned to return home to Australia at this time, but it is incredible how fast time has gone.
I am sad to be leaving. I have never enjoyed a job as much as this one. I have met an amazing array of different people who all care for street children and hope that one day the Jakarta’s streets will look very different.
My time at Sahabat Anak has taught me so much about myself, Indonesia, Jakarta, urban poverty and the issues that street children face each day. However, most importantly, it has taught me that when we care for one another we can achieve great things.
Sahabat Anak’s philosophy is simple, through developing friendships with street children we can encourage them to return to school and aim for a better life.
When I reflect back on my own life, I see a number of people who have been very influential in my life, and it has been through their love, attention and friendship that I have become the person I am today. I see the same thing happening with the children at Sahabat Anak. When we invest our time and friendship into their lives they are able to change their lives for the better.
Recently I watched a very interesting documentary from Al Jazeera, “Protecting Indonesia’s Children,” which you can watch on YouTube by clicking the link.
The documentary reveals a number of issues and concerns that we are facing together in Jakarta, highlighting that children are society’s most vulnerable members. This means that it is up to the entire community to love and care for them. It is up to all of us to fill in the gaps. Most importantly it is not up to us to place a couple of rupiah into their begging hands. This is only a quick fix solution, and only ever makes the giver feel better about themselves. Incidentally, it also encourages children and their families to stay on the streets using begging and busking as a way to generate an income.
Aris Merdeka Sirait, from the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak), stated on the Al Jazeera documentary that “it is the government and society’s responsibility, not to look at them [street children] as criminals, but to look at them as victims. Victims of dysfunctional families, of rampant poverty.”
As I leave Jakarta and Sahabat Anak, I really hope that I have inspired you, Jakarta Globe readers, to think about what you are doing in your own life to help those in your own society who are poor and vulnerable. If every member of the community gave one or two hours a week and volunteered their time to help someone else, could you imagine the world we would live in?
So if you are still stuck for ideas about what you can do, here is a list:
- Sign up with “Count Me In,” a volunteer initiative, and they can put you in touch with an organization you are interested in helping.
- Volunteer at an organization working in your local area.
- If you don’t have time, donate your money to an organization that is assisting poor and marginalized communities.
- Donate pre-loved books to Drive Books Not Cars and they can sell them at their next book sale. All proceeds go to organizations working with underprivileged children in Jakarta and Flores.
- Support online social movements through Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s work together to change society’s view. Let us help society understand that street children are victims of the situation they were born into.
I hope that through this blog I have inspired at least 10 more people in Jakarta to use some of their spare time volunteering. Trust me volunteering is worth it.