Solidarity That Transforms

Street children
The existence of street children in Indonesia has been recorded since the 1980s, but since the multidimensional crisis in mid-1997, the number of street children increased rapidly. According to data from the Center for Data and Information (Pusdatin) Department of Social Affairs, the number of street children from year to year shows significant increase. In 2000, there were 59,517 children in 2002, 94,674. In 2004, 98,113 children spread to large cities. The definition of street children themselves, according to Pusdatin Kemensos RI, is a child of 5 to 21 years who spent the most of his/her time to making a living in the streets or public places.

Street children can be divided into three groups, namely:
1. Those who live for 24 hours on the streets, completely separated from their family.
2. Those who work on the streets but still have a home and family.
3. Those who are taken to the streets (or are vulnerable to be taken to the street), because his parents have already live in the streets.

The increased number of children in the streets is a problem, especially in large cities like Yogyakarta. Their presence disrupts the convenience and safety of traffic and they are often involved in criminal acts such as pickpocketing or assault. There is also a suspicion that street children are controlled by gangs, which makes the problem of street children in the big cities more complicated.

Many people have tried to solve the problem of street children. The government, in this case the district/city authorities, with various policies and regulations, have sought to solve this problem, or at least to mitigate its negative consequences. In addition, many non-governmental organizations are emerging to try to solve the problem
street children. Various models of intervention have been undertaken, various projects and programs have been implemented, ranging from the popular transit shelter model, to the last quite extreme is the regulation issued by many district/city governments that ban the presence of the homeless and beggars. However, this article is not intended to evaluate the projects and programs for street children conducted by the government or other organizations.

Others see the “strangers” as rich people who only come to “share for fortune” without worrying too much about their real situation. By building these relationships as well, Yayasan Rumah Impian Indonesia (otherwise known as the Dreamhouse) can discover what most street children need through their own recognition and direct observation of their daily lives. In addition to finding their needs, through established relationships, the assistance provided to street children will not be just a charity from a stranger but “the help of a friend “who came out of deep empathy.

In keeping with its vision and mission, the help provided by the Dream House to street children is not only charity (food, clothing), but rather the help to empower them. Assistance in the form of entrepreneurship training and mentoring, apprenticeship support, preventive child care, scholarships for the children, and family support can better achieve its goals when it is ensured by established relationships. Indeed, an obstacle encountered by this solidarity approach is the need to spend a lot of time with street children.

The assistance provided is also long-term. Nevertheless, since the launch of its programs in 2008, good relations with street children have yielded many positive results. The number of street children who have volunteered to study at the Center for Self-Learning Activities (PKBM) with the help of Dream House, there are even 20 children returning to formal school in some schools from the elementary level. until high school with a full scholarship of Dream Home and now 80 Children are assisting in education center to prevent them from going to street. The awareness to stay at school increase from time to time, and this does not happen by coercion or lure, but by relationships that are intimately related to the Dream House volunteers.

Finally, Dream House believes that with this solidarity approach, the transformation can take place. It may take some time, but Dream House is ready to make the journey.

* Founder of Yayasan Rumah Impian Indonesia

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