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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 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.
About 7 percent of Indonesians are unemployed, and more than 17 percent live below the poverty line.
The World Food Program estimates that about 40 percent of children are stunted from malnutrition.
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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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.
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:
World Vision assistance in Indonesia dates back to 1957. Child sponsorship began in 1961. Since then, some major accomplishments include:
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.