Opinion and Editorial – August 02, 2006
Learning that the authorities believe putting street children into shelters is the answer, the children themselves have other thoughts. Most of them prefer to go back to the streets, where they can make some money for their families, rather than living a ‘normal life’ (The Jakarta Post’s editorial, July 22).
These children are addicted to being on the street, where they can get money for doing very little. Some of them even buy alcohol with their money.
There are thought to be about 60,000 homeless children in the country, 20,000 of whom live in Jakarta. There are also 11.7 million school dropouts, 400,000 of whom live in shelters for displaced persons. It is high time the government provided food, shelter and education for them.
Psychologists could work with them to change their outlook on life. A last resort would be for the government to house them in rehabilitation centers.
In my view, street children like what they do and cannot imagine any other life for themselves, though they have been made to feel this way by the adults who are closest to them. In short, these children have ended up on the street systematically not accidentally.