With 17,000 islands and islets in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the biggest archipelago in the world. The largest islands include Sumatra, Java (the most populous), and Bali

  • Population: 239,871,000
  • Life Expectancy: 69 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 80%
  • School Enrollment: 98%
  • Land Mass: 735,358 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 92%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 35/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 2,580

Facts about Indonesia

Disaster Response

Indonesia is still recovering from the 2004 tsunami. Schools, roads, water and sanitation systems were destroyed, and more than a half million people were displaced. Subsequent natural disasters have hampered growth.

Economic Development

About seven percent of Indonesians are unemployed and more than 17 percent live below the poverty line.

Food & Agriculture

The World Food Program estimates that about 40 percent of children are stunted from malnutrition.

Child Protection

Human trafficking continues to be a serious problem. Every year, thousands of women and children are trafficked, including being forced or lured into the commercial sex trade.

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Progress in Indonesia

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Trained community members in agricultural methods, animal husbandry, and fish farming to strengthen the food supply and increase household income.

  • Helped children stay in school by assisting with scholarships and providing school supplies.

  • Trained principals and teachers in child-friendly teaching methods and conflict resolution, improving the learning environment.

  • Partnered with the local Department of Education to develop a peacebuilding program for schools.

  • Provided sports equipment, books, and musical instruments to children’s clubs to develop children’s talents and promote positive use of free time.

  • Worked with community members to develop a disaster-preparedness plan to mitigate the risks of emergencies such as landslides.

  • Trained community members in marketing skills, business management, and handicrafts to help them start and expand small businesses.

  • Trained farmers in rubber-tree cultivation, a major source of income in the area, and supplied them with seeds and fertilizer.

  • Worked with schools to make sure children have birth certificates, fulfilling their citizenship rights and widening their access to public services.

  • Formed children’s clubs to continue raising children’s awareness about their rights and advocate for their protection.

  • Children participated in a celebration that included sports competitions, games, and singing.

  • Monitored children's health and assisted seriously ill children with medical expenses.

  • Organized age-appropriate HIV and AIDS education programs for children and young people.

  • Implemented a program to teach caregivers about health and nutrition, working to improve the health of children under age 5.

  • Provided age-appropriate HIV and AIDS education for young people.

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    World Vision in Indonesia Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Indonesia to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 16,300 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Indonesia. Highlights include:

    • Responding to natural disasters and assisting communities with rebuilding homes.
    • Improving health and nutrition in communities.
    • Raising HIV and AIDS awareness and working with at-risk youths to reduce infection rates.

    World Vision History in Indonesia

    World Vision assistance in Indonesia dates back to 1957.  Child sponsorship began in 1961. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

    • Providing food to reduce malnutrition and assisting the survivors of the Bali volcanic eruption with food, clothing, and medical supplies during the 1960s.
    • Constructing schools for literacy programs and improving health care and agricultural development during the 1970s.
    • Offering education and vocational training in sewing, carpentry, and typing, as well as opening health clinics in the 1980s.
    • Addressing the needs of the urban poor, as well as providing food, health education, food-for-work opportunities, schooling, and training for entrepreneurs since the 1990s.
    • Helping survivors of the 2004 tsunami and other recent disasters with food, clothing, medical supplies, access to clean water, and other necessities.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    With 17,000 islands and islets in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is the biggest archipelago in the world. The largest islands include Sumatra, Java (the most populous), and Bali.

    Indonesia has 100 active volcanoes, as well as interior mountains, lush forests, and numerous rivers. The lava’s residual ash contributes to soil fertility and plant growth. Natural resources include petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, coal, gold, silver, and fertile soil.

    Nearly half of the country’s workforce is engaged in agriculture and fishing. Products include rice, cassava, peanuts, rubber, cocoa, and coffee.

    Indonesia’s national motto is “unity in diversity.” The people are proud that despite hundreds of ethnic groups, they are united as one nation. Javanese, Sundanese, and Madurese represent majority ethnic groups. Although the official language is Bahasa Indonesia, Indonesians speak more than 580 other languages and dialects.

    Indonesia’s many different cultures have their own customs; however, most rural people do not celebrate birthdays. Also, many children have arranged marriages. The minimum legal age to marry is 18 for girls and 21 for boys; women in rural areas usually marry by age 20.


    The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century. From 1942 to the end of World War II, Japan occupied the country. Indonesia declared its independence from the Dutch in 1945, but did not gain autonomy until 1949 after four years of negotiation with the Netherlands.

    After decades under an oppressive government, Indonesia held free elections in 1999. The country is the third-largest democracy in the world today.

    On December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake centered off Sumatra’s west coast caused a powerful tsunami in the Indian Ocean that affected 12 countries. In Indonesia, hundreds of thousands of people died and more than 500,000 were displaced.

    In 2005, the government reached a peace agreement with separatists in Aceh, an area on the northern edge of Sumatra. Today, another group of separatists—the Free Papua Movement—continue to resist the government’s control.

    Two massive earthquakes in 2009 killed about 100 people in West Java and 1,000 in Western Sumatra. Another earthquake and tsunami killed over 100 people in October of 2010, and a volcanic eruption that same month killed nearly 150 people and displaced over 107,000 people.

    Prayer Requests for Indonesia

    • Political peace and stability in the country.
    • The many children who live in a challenging environment with limited access to healthcare and education.