Indonesia is a country that has been seriously affected economically and socially during the latest years by the constant natural disasters it has suffered (earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, typhoons, etc.) Natural disasters are a constant in the history of Indonesia and the lives of local people.
Also, the country’s economic crisis has affected millions of workers with the consequence that thousands of children have been forced to leave school to go to work. Child labour is a major problem in Indonesia, at least 2.3 million children aged 10 to 14 years and 3.8 million aged 15 to 18 years are working to help their families.
Information of Hu´u (island of Sumbawa):
Sumbawa belongs to the Republic of Indonesia and is situated three islands away from the island of Bali. Sumbawa Island is strikingly different from Bali. Bali is an extraordinarily developed island, both economically and in tourism, where thousands of tourists from all over the world arrive at the airport every day. Yet Sumbawa, despite being much larger than Bali (Bali: 5,700 km2, Sumbawa: 15,448 km2), only receives a few tourists a week. Moreover, the people of Sumbawa hardly know how to exploit its tourism, which could help them leave the extreme poverty in which they are living.
On the island of Sumbawa, in particular in the province of Dompu, is the population of Hu’u formed by a group of 6 villages, built over an area of 30 kilometers of roads, and inhabited by about 8,050 people, of which 30% are of school age. Their main problems are those of the country, but with greater social impact given the characteristics of the area and the obvious social exclusion in which the population is living, particularly considering that this population is foreign to any kind of infrastructure. Moreover, as an area with limited economic resources, the weakness of the local population is accentuated.
Despite having a literacy rate of 91%, school failure in Indonesia is at a 50% dropout for a basic education that lasts six years. The above figures are unrepresentative in reference to the population of Hu’u, where the literacy rate and school failure is in a much less optimistic level. The local population is engaged in working the land and fishing, together with gathering seaweed for cosmetics companies and selling them at a ridiculous price.
Moreover, education in Indonesia is of very low quality, with teachers who mostly have no university degrees or any preparation for teaching. The Indonesian teaching system also has no technical or professional content, so the children’s success in professional opportunities is absolutely non-existent. All the above results in the local population’s total distrust towards the school, leading to the enormous schooling failure and dropouts, as well as significant gaps in education and training of the people of Hu ‘ u.
The inadequacy of school structures and the educational system to the characteristics of disadvantaged populations, leads to significant gaps in education and training in these populations. The precariousness of living standards in rural areas, the high rate of illiteracy and school failure in the area, as well as the high rate of child labour, place younger adults in Hu’u in a situation of extreme vulnerability.
The first observation that arises is, therefore, that many school-aged children are not attending school regularly, mostly children living in the more remote rural communities. In addition, many children couldn’t go to school because they were doing inappropriate productive tasks for their age: farming, agriculture, small traders assistants, shoe cleaning, etc. Access to schools wasn’t easy due to the lack of school transport and poor communications, which prevented children from distant villages to get to school every day. According to teachers, many parents showed little interest in their children attending school and, either by necessity or apathy, they preferred them to help with household chores, in the case of girls, or cooperate in the tasks of the field in the case of boys. In addition, we identified quite a number of small businessmen using children for auxiliary tasks, taking advantage of the low cost of their work.
If the education situation for children is very poor, the adult education systems are totally inexistent. Among the adult population there are extremely high rates of illiteracy. It is estimated that about one third of these people are functionally illiterate, either because they didn’t attend school at the time, or because at present there is no specific training program dedicated to this segment of the population.
To these reasons we must be add the high incidence of childhood diseases, mainly caused by malnutrition, by the poor health care provided by the health centre, as well as the lack of vaccination among the local population. There are many cases, not rigorously quantified, of children with severe disabilities.
Finally, from the environmental point of view, there is no type of municipal waste collection, so there is a steady proliferation of uncontrolled dumping by the local population. In this sense, the local population is showing a zero environmental education. Therefore, providing education and environmental waste management is absolutely essential to maintaining and safeguarding the natural resources of the area.
In short, the local Hu’u population lives in a context of extreme vulnerability and multidimensional social exclusion, in which there are not many opportunities for development and success either socially or professionally.