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 7 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 teachers and school administrators in child-friendly curriculum aimed at helping kids learn how to live in peace with others and how to overcome life's challenges in positive ways.

  • Established early child care and development centers for kids ages 3-4 years old, working to increase primary school preparation and enrollment.

  • Formed community savings groups, giving families access to financial training and services, and helping to increase household income.

  • Worked with local partners to provide training on rice paddy cultivation and freshwater fishing for families so they can develop skills that will help them earn an income.

  • Conducted business development trainings to help Indonesians start small businesses and provide for their families.

  • Equipped health center staff and parents with information on ways to prevent malnutrition, teaching them how to provide and prepare nutrient-rich, age-appropriate foods for infants and young children.

  • Started children's forums, study centers, and women's groups to educate members on issues like children's rights and how to report cases of abuse, helping improve safety for children within the community.

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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

    • Local government agencies to enact and uphold policies that promote children’s rights.
    • Families affected by frequent natural disasters including flooding and volcanic eruptions.
    • Political peace and stability in the country.
    • The many children who live in a challenging environment with limited access to healthcare and education.