Poverty is the main reason why children drop out of school to become beggars or hawkers to help their parents. Although the Constitution assures them the right to a better living, the number of neglected children continues to increase. The Jakarta Post asked some residents for their opinions on the issue.
Jenny, 30, is a communications consultant. She lives in Cempaka Putih, East Jakarta:
People understand that giving money to street children is not the right thing to do, however some people continue to do so because it’s the easiest way to help them.
I know that the government runs a number of programs for street children and neglected children in general, but they never seem to amount to much.
There are many community groups working to protect child rights in the country, however, and I believe they will make things better. I have seen some of them really help street children make the most of their situations.
They set up homeless shelters, run free weekend classes and donate books.
Luna, 28, is a public relations officer. She lives in Tangerang:
I have been working with clients who carry out corporate responsibility programs for unfortunate children. We have donated books to several independent schools run by community organizations that offer street children free education. We also help schools, especially those in slum areas, to improve their learning facilities.
I have suggested some of my clients run more programs for street children, such as providing scholarships for those who cannot afford to continue with their educations. But it’s easier said than done because awarding scholarships takes a lot of consideration and effort. We need to think about the sustainability of programs, something which often seems to be an afterthought.
— The Jakarta Post