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Volunteering: first impressions of Indonesia

Nana, a Child Protection Advisor at Save the Children’s office in Jakarta, talked the group through the Families First programme

 Last week, a group of Save the Children volunteers flew out to Indonesia to see first-hand how our Families First Signature Programme is transforming children’s lives.

On Friday, East Anglia volunteer David Float introduced his fellow travellers; today, he shares the group’s first impressions of their new surroundings.

First impressions

After traveling for up to 30 hours, we landed exhausted but excited in hot and sticky Jakarta.

Hannah was struck by the contrast between skyscrapers and shacks, rich and poor – a densely populated megacity but also lush green.

For Jeanette there were many deep intakes of breath during the drive from the airport into the city. Pedestrians take their lives in their hands and children are wedged between adults on motorbikes.

Brian felt there was a great cosmopolitan feel to the crowds at the airport and had the unusual feeling for him of being an ethnic minority.

Families First

After a much-needed night’s sleep, on Monday we met Nur Jannah, aka Nana, the Child Protection Advisor at Save the Children’s office in Jakarta. Born in Java, Nana was one of the first group of aid workers at the scene in Aceh after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. She talked us through the Families First Programme.

We learnt, for example, that there are more than 8,000 orphanages in Indonesia, many of which are being run as commercial operations, with agents that go to rural areas to encourage parents to send their children away. Often this will mean children not seeing their parents again for many years – or in some cases, never.

Having had a great overview we’re now really intrigued to meet the programme team in Bandung and see for ourselves how Save the Children is making a difference to the lives of children in Indonesia’s orphanages.

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