„We want to grow! We want to go to school! Stop child labour!“ is what the people of Medan City read on the huge banner in Simpang Post Street on April 28, 2017.
Two days earlier our Indonesian partner Pusat Kajian dan Perlindungan Anak (PKPA) organised a workshop on child work, in which thirty children creatively expressed and discussed their messages to the public, to local and national authorities. The results of the workshop were to be seen on the banner, which is decorated with paintings carrying the demands of the working children of PKPA.
“The children were very enthusiastic about the public campaign – even though we had to re-schedule the meeting with the government representatives. They decided to publish the banner in the streets to share their message with the people”, reports Keumala Dewi, who works with PKPA.
The meeting of the working children of PKPA with local authorities and government representatives was postponed to mid of May. Then the children will have the opportunity to share their views on child labour and the importance of education. On this occasion they also want to hand over the banner. Instead of being disappointed about the postponed meeting, the children decided to use the time to ask people in the streets of Medan City to sign their banner to lend weight to their demands. They already collected over 50 signatures.
But that wasn’t all!
PKPA was invited by the national radio network Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) to participate in a talk show to talk about the challenges of working children. Keysa (16) and Yudha (17), both members of the Time to Talk! Campaign, were selected to represent the working children at the radio show.
Keysa talked about her work as a scavenger. She said that the work after school, tires her so much that she struggles to find time to study and do homework. Therewhile Yudha does not have that problem: He dropped out of school in order to earn money cleaning busses all day. But since PKPA is supporting him, he can attend computer classes and is very optimistic that he will find a better job one day.
When sharing their experiences as working children, they also talked about the importance of education and their messages to the government. They demand that education to be less expensive, since many children have to work to afford school fees, books and other materials for classes. Yudha added that the government should have programs for income generation for the poor urban community, so that the parents can have better jobs and earn enough to not send their children to work.
PKPA stands for Yayasan Pusat Kajian dan Perlindugan Anak, which translates as Foundation Centre for the Study and Child Protection. The NGO was established in October 1996 in Medan City, North Sumatera, to uphold children’s rights, support children in need and actively engage in advocacy to improve the welfare and protection of children in Indonesia. PKPA is a partner organisation of the Kindernothilfe e.V.
The activities are part of the public action weeks carried out by our partner organisations worldwide under the slogan “It’s time to talk about …”. During this time children and youth will be discussing the challenges, risks and necessities of child work in workshops, theatre performances and child marches to attract attention to their situations.