Sunday, 28 October 2018

Learning Brings Hope Amidst the Rubble in Tsunami-stricken Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi


By Lely Djuhari, UNICEF Communication Specialist 



PALU, Indonesia 28 October –  A faint but a determined heartbeat has returned to the provincial capital city of Palu in Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi. A month after a powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake and tsunami devastated this once palm-fringed bayside area, 11-year-old girl Sophia Angelica Majid woke up from her slumber on one sunny morning.

Her room is now a tent, shared with nine other family members and neighbours. Her bed is a mattress, protected by a mosquito net. Her morning routine now includes showering or washing her face and hands with soap; brushing her teeth with water from a large container at the end of a field dotted with white and khaki green canvas temporary shelters.


She no longer has a school bag, full of books. Her laptop, full of homework notes, computer games, and her favourite Disney movies Frozen and Moana, is nowhere to be found.



With only one exercise book and a pen, she started to get ready for her school day. Her mother Evni Majid bid her goodbye as she busied herself filling in a city form to record that she, her husband, Sophia and her two brothers were safe. Though it would be forever imprinted in her mind how they ran desperately to get away from the waves that engulfed large swathes of the shoreline. Sophia’s quick reaction made her grab two mobile phones. They became the family’s lifeline in the following chaotic days, trying to find food, drink and information on where the rest of the family sought refuge.

On Sophia’s 30-minute-walk to school amidst the debris, cars and motorbikes rumbled in the streets as her hometown came back to life.

“Oh my, that entire wall is gone,” Sophia gasped, as she arrived to SDN Inpres II Talise and gazed for the first time the surreal landscape at the back of her school, which faced the waterfront. “It’s heartbreaking. This used to be a neat row of school buildings. There was a large housing complex over there. There used to be durian fruit sellers (on the coastline). Now it’s all gone.”


 
Of the 202 students registered at Sophia’s school only 70 from all the six grades showed up that day. However, she and her friends sat down on the plastic-covered ground ready to learn the first lesson of the day.

It's a long way from normal, but it's a start.
UNICEF was the first UN agency to transport 94 metric tonnes of essential emergency supplies through an airbridge from a neighbouring island of Borneo. Sophie’s school was one of the first to receive the 450 school tents and 300 school-in-a-box that UNICEF has committed to deliver to over 1,400 affected schools, more than184,000 children and nearly 13,000 teachers. UNICEF also successfully advocated a standard-setting first as the Government procured another 150 tents using UNICEF specifications. 




The Head of the Education Office Irwan Lahece has issued a back to school appeal. All schools are to resume school from 8 to 11 AM in the morning, with an hour dedicated to psychosocial support – singing, playing games, talking in a group or one-on-one with the teachers about whatever is on their mind.

But aftershocks are still a regular occurrence. Many parents fear that after surviving thus far, their lives may still be changed for the worse. Officials are still confirming the total number of children who have already regained access to education. They will also step up efforts to clear up broken furniture, mangled metal pieces, shards of glass from the school grounds. Another challenge for the coming months is to set up latrines and handwashing facilities in the school tents.

The searing heat outside of the not-quite-yet noon sun signalled that classes were over. The tent was considerably cooler as the teachers raised the wall flaps to allow air to circulate inside the 72-meter square room. The children – including Sophia - lined up to receive a UNICEF white bag with exercise books, pens, rulers, an eraser, a sharpener and crayons.



A bag full of hope to add to her sole school possession of one note book and one pen.
“Education is for every child. There are hundreds and thousands of children affected by the earthquake and tsunami here. It’s time for them to go back to school and get a sense of normalcy in their lives,” said Yusra Tebe, UNICEF Emergency Education Specialist. He added that with the onset of a monsoon, in some areas their hardships may be compounded by more landslides.



After school, Sophia and her older brother returned to her house stripped of its roof, wooden walls, doors. Only a cement foundation is now left behind, marking the four rooms of her house. She looks through the wreckage to try and find some of her belongings, including her school uniform, shoes or sandals without any luck. She manages to find a white frilly dress belonging to Tasha her friend and promises to tell her of the find.


With the Government of Indonesia leading the response, UNICEF was ready to support in the critical hours and days after an emergency in Central Sulawesi. A six-month plan has been completed. UNICEF now stands ready to support the Government, partners and the community, as the emergency response moves into early recovery.





Saturday, 13 October 2018

A child found, a family reunited


By Kinanti Pinta Karana, UNICEF Indonesia Communications Specialist




Iqbal As Sywie parked his motorbike at the Central Sulawesi Office of Social Affairs and half ran to the blue tent where the Child Protection Joint Secretariat located. “Is he here yet?” he asked Astrid Gonzaga Dionisio, a UNICEF Child Protection Specialist staff who shook her head and smiled, “He’ll be here, Pak, take a deep breath.”

Iqbal, 33, smiled and looked at his mother, Marta.  Iqbal is the father of Mufli, 10, and Fikri, 7. Both sons went missing after the earthquake and tsunami hit the cities of Palu and Donggala on 28 September 2018. “They are good children, they kiss my hand before going to school and mengaji (Quran reciting course, a common after-school activity for children of Islamic faith),” he said.

He reported the missing children to the Child Protection Joint Secretariat Post. The social workers filed the report and shared it with colleagues in other posts in Central Sulawesi. When disaster strikes, children are often separated from their parents or immediate families and in many cases, missing. In Central Sulawesi, as of October 11, the number of separated[1] and unaccompanied[2] children is estimated to be 300, while the number of registered missing children is 74.

The Social Ministry’s social workers (Satuan Bakti Pekerja Sosial or Sakti Peksos) in collaboration with UNICEF provided a host of support for children affected by the Central Sulawesi disaster. From psycho-social support to help children cope with the traumatic experience to family tracing and reunification (FTR) to reunify separated families. Twelve posts will be set up in disaster-hit areas to identify children who are separated or unaccompanied. Similar posts have been set up in Makassar to register separated/unaccompanied children moving out of Palu.

After days of tracing, social workers found a child matching the description of Fikri in Morowali Utara, a district located eight hours away from Palu. After a series of cross-checking and a thorough identification process, it was confirmed that Fikri had been found. Today, the elated family gathered at the Joint Secretariat tent for their reunification with Fikri.

Iqbal, his mother and some members of his extended family sat on the tarpaulined floor, when a small child entered carrying a bag of toys in his hand. It was Fikri. Iqbal broke in tears and hugged his lost son.



“Masya Allah (whatever Allah will), Fikri, you are alive,” he said between tears as he kissed his forehead.

Fikri was playing outside the house with his older brother, Mufli (10), when tsunami swept them away. He was stranded on a pedestrian walk and rescued by a local person who was being evacuated to Morowali Utara. The situation in Palu at that time was still very chaotic, the person decided to bring Fikri with him while trying to get medical help on the way. He filed a report at the social worker’s post in the district while caring for the child.  

“This is a miracle. It makes me and the social workers happy every time we are successful in reuniting a child with their families,” the Director of Child Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Social Affairs Nahar (it is common for Indonesians to have only one name) said.

Prior to the meeting, Iqbal and his family had had a chance to speak to Fikri over the phone. They were thankful to know he was well treated by the family and he had been going to Quran reciting course.

UNICEF Indonesia Child Protection Specialist Naning Puji Julianingsih said that family tracing and reunification is important because a child should be with their family. “The best environment for a child is with their own immediate or extended families. Institutional care or family-based adoption should be the last options,” Naning said.

UNICEF recently introduced digital-based innovation named Primero application. Data of separated children found will automatically be matched with missing children report. UNICEF currently works with Social Ministry to conduct a training for social workers whose main task is to trace and reunify separated children with their families.

“I can’t tell you how I feel right now, I want to meet with the person who rescued my son and thanked him in person,” Iqbal said. He still had not heard any news of Mufli but he remained hopeful. His mother, Marta, touched her son’s hand and said, “Wherever he is, I hope he (Mufli) is alive and with good people,” she said.





[1] Separated children are those separated from both parents, or from their previous legal or customary primary care-giver, but not necessarily from other relatives. These may therefore, include children accompanied by other adult family members. Source: Inter-Agency Guiding Principles on unaccompanied and separated children, 2004
[2] Unaccompanied children (also called unaccompanied minors) are children who have been separated from both  parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult, who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so. Source: Inter-Agency Guiding Principles on unaccompanied and separated children, 2004


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Indonesia’s Famed Spice Islands Aim to Have ‘No Child Left Behind’ in MR Campaign

By Tomi Soetjipto

With a confidence of an army cadet, four-year old Jupe Rusmani stomped into a small-dilapidated room full of health workers armed with injection needles. Her poise surprised everyone, including Jupe’s Mother, Nor Rusmani, who stood outside smiling.
Armendo Fransesco received the Measles & Rubella vaccine
©Fauzan Yo/UNICEF Indonesia/2018

“What a brave little girl you are,” said one of the nurses before she injected life-saving Measles and Rubella (MR) vaccines on Jupe’s upper left arm.  Within seconds Jupe walked out the room and shook her head furiously when asked by her ‘aunties’ neighbours whether she felt pain from the injection. 

Buoyed by Jupe’s confidence, other kids followed her steps, including eight-year old Gloria Titahena who didn’t flinch her eyes when the injection needle rested on her bony upper arm. With a timid smile, Gloria then posed for a photograph while holding a sign in local language that says, “I’m brave, I just had a rubella vaccination ”. Another kid, five-year old Armendo Fransesco, a cheerful boy with shoulder-length curly hair, held up another sign that says, “Want to be healthy? Have a Rubella vaccination”
Mothers in Waimahu Passo, city of Ambon, took their children to receive Measles & Rubella vaccine
©Fauzan Yo/UNICEF Indonesia/2018 

It’s been an eventful day for the children of Waimahu Passo in  Ambon, capital of the Moluccas province.  On this recent September day, around 23 kids have been registered to receive MR vaccines, as part of a nationwide second phase campaign to immunize 31.9 million children. The first phase was done in the main island of Java in 2017, targeting around 35 million children. Lying at the eastern part of Indonesia, Ambon is part of the famed Moluccas islands, once a sought-after colonial destination due to their spices.

As of early September, around 50 per cent of children aged above nine months to below 15 years in Ambon city, or around 50 thousand have been vaccinated against MR. The port city is targeting around 114 thousand children whilst the provincial target stands at around 546 thousand.
Rosa Penturi is doing puppet shows and singing to relieve children's tension during the Measles & Rubella vaccine activity
©Fauzan Yo/UNICEF Indonesia/2018 

Waimahu Passo is not your usual neighborhood. The community of makeshift houses was built out of a dark chapter in Ambon’s history when it was engulfed in communal violence in 1999. All of the 300 residents living in this crammed zone lost their homes and belongings when mayhem gripped Ambon.

19 years on, the displaced community has made Waimaho Passo their home, with many finding jobs in the informal sector as vegetable sellers or motorcycle taxis.

Local NGO, Yayasan Pelangi Maluku, has been at the forefront of efforts to include marginalized children into the MR campaign.
 
“At first we informed community leaders about the government’s plan, then we visited the communities a couple of times, informing them about the danger of MR. So far it’s been a great,” said Rosa Penturi, Head of Yayasan Pelangi Maluku, her left hand is covered with a sock puppet.  Rosa has been giving puppet performances and sing-a-long sessions to ease children’s tension.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

We are Rubella’s Heroes!

By Dolly Dupe and Ermi Ndoen
 
Rubella Heroes Wall at KIMS school. (C) UNICEF Indonesia/2018/Tc.Imel

Eleven-year old Audhyni closed her tiny eyes as her round face contorted with terror. The Grade Six student was seconds away from receiving the life-saving measles and rubella (MR) vaccine as part of the Indonesian Government’s mass vaccination campaign against MR.

A teacher who sat next to Audhyni wrapped her arms around her waist for comfort.

But as soon as the nurse was done with the injection; a sense of relief lifted Audhyni’s spirit.  

“It’s not painful at all,” she said smiling. “It felt like an ant was biting me,” she added to the laugh of teachers and other students who had thronged the classroom in Kupang International Montessori School (KIMS), in the provincial capital of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT).

Within minutes Audhyni rushed to a nearby wall and dipped her hands into a bucket of paint.  She then pressed them firmly onto the wall – leaving behind colourful handprints on the white background.  

“I am a hero now - We are the heroes of Rubella”, she said with pride, showing her painted hands to her friends and teachers.
Once vaccinated, the children put a triumphant handprint on the wall. (C) UNICEF Indonesia/2018/Brigitta De Rosari

Lying in the southeast side of Indonesia, NTT is one of the 28 provinces where phase 2 of the vaccination campaign is taking place, in August and September 2018.  More than 1.7 million children in NTT Province are being targeted in this mass immunization drive, including Audhyni and her friends.

The campaign to vaccinate all children from measles and rubella began last year in six provinces of the island of Java.  Phase 1 was a huge success, with all 35 million children receiving the life-saving vaccines. Once phase 2 is completed this year, around 67 million Indonesians are expected to be vaccinated against measles and rubella.

MR vaccines not only protect children developing measles and rubella themselves, but also protect their future children from congenital defects caused by the rubella virus during pregnancy. These include hearing problems, visual impairment, cardiac abnormalities and intellectual disabilities. According to WHO, Indonesia was one of the top ten countries in the world with the most number of measles incidents as of 2015. 

The students, teachers and parents of KIMS school were all very eager to take part in the vaccination drive, having heard about the danger of measles and rubella. “We want to support the MR Campaign because it is a programme from the Government, and we want Indonesian children, especially our own children to be free from measles and rubella”, said Ms Dolly, the school principal.

“When KIMS got the letter from the puskesmas [Health Centre], we forwarded it [to the parents],” she said  “From the day we received the letter, we started sharing information with our students and answering any questions from them”.

To facilitate information sharing, the school then set up a group discussion on whatsapp.  “We tried to answer all the parents’ questions. We only shared information from trusted media and we encouraged them to join their children during the vaccination”.

Dolly and her team of teachers also went a step further to help encourage the students to have fun during what might otherwise be a scary time. “We used handprints [to make a] ‘Heroes Wall’ as appreciation for their fearlessness in facing the injection. It was also a way to distract them from their pain and, last but not least, we wanted to have fun on that day, which happened to fall on Friday, traditionally our fun activities’ day.”

Dolly and the other teachers used the slogan ‘We are Rubella’s Heroes’ as their school’s statement to encourage parents, children and their communities to join the MR campaign.
(C) UNICEF Indonesia/2018/Tc. Vanny

“As we can see from the pictures, even though the kids were terrified, they took the shot and after a couple of minutes they were eager to do the handprinting and forgot about the pain!”

The fun activities have even prompted other students who missed the vaccination due to ill health and other reasons, to ask for a follow up visit so they can put their handprints on the wall too.

Indeed, the children are now the real MR heroes.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Annual Report

 Welcome to UNICEF Indonesia's Annual Report 2017


Please download the full report here: English Bahasa Indonesia
SDGs Begin With Children
In her foreword, our Representative Gunilla Olsson mentions several programmes that you can read about or watch some great short videos, by clicking the links below.
 
 




At UNICEF, we believe sustainable development begins with children, and this year we came one step closer to making children more more visible in the SDGs. Together with the Government, we produced the SDG Baseline Report on Children in Indonesia, generating evidence that can be used to inform policy decisions.
You can download the full report, and explore the online dashboard here:
English
Bahasa Indonesia
SDG Online Dashboard


In Java we have trained midwives to use the Infobidan platform, so now over 20,000 women at the forefront of a newborn baby's care, have access to crucial information and advice, just by using their mobile phones.
You can read all about the programme here:
English
Bahasa Indonesia




We worked hard this year to give young people a voice and hear their views. Over 110,000 young people are now dialoguing with each other and decision makers (through the platform 'U-Report') to promote improved investments in children's wellbeing. Read about some of their results here:
English
Bahasa Indonesia



We also conducted a completely voluntary and first-of-its-kind wellbeing survey:
Pioneering survey asks 8-12-year-old Indonesians: what's life like?






A new report on data on monetary and multidimensional child poverty, produced together with the Central Bureau of Statistics, highlights inequities across the country. The report underpins the introduction of universal child grants by local governments in Aceh and Papua.
Download the full report here:
English
Bahasa Indonesia

30,000 adolescent girls and boys are now benefitting from increased knowledge and awareness about menstruation, helping to break through patterns of discrimination and keep girls in school. Watch a video about what they're learning here: MHM Awareness

An innovative SMS-based monitoring platform facilitated rapid response for the immunization of 35 million children during the Measles and Rubella campaign, led by the Ministry of Health. The platform is being replicated for interventions against malaria, HIV and other diseases. Read about the platform here:
English
Bahasa Indonesia


The successful implementation of a pilot literacy programme, leading to a twofold increase in literacy amongst early grade children in remote areas of Papua and West Papua.Watch the video here: Papua Reads

A new bullying prevention programme, led by adolescents in schools in Makassar, already resulting in a reduction by almost 30 per cent in bullying. Read about it here:
English
Bahasa Indonesia