BY KAYLA CLEMSON

In Indonesia, from the 3rd of January 2020 to the 9th of September 2021, there have been 4,153,355 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 138,116 deaths reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This global pandemic affects many people men, women and in particular children. It has been reported that many children are losing at least one parent to the deadly disease which has put huge strains on one of our most vulnerable and most important assets.

The Indonesian Ministry of Social Affairs is one of the government agencies that focuses on children’s problems usually in emergency situations. Their current focus is children as a vulnerable group exposed to COVID-19 needing special attention. An aspect of their support is through the Child Social Rehabilitation Program. This program helps with the assistance in the form of hand sanitizers and masks to eight provinces and eight Child Centers, as well as providing assistance for the socialization of COVID-19 prevention materials to all Social Welfare Institutions Children (LKSA) in Indonesia.

With these centers and programs in place there are still many problems arising, Social Workers and Caregivers struggle with situations where they can not work from home fully during the PPMK. These kinds of jobs require field observations such as outreaching, home visits and other humanitarian tasks. CEO of Harapan Fian Ahmad “Didin” Syaifuddin has stated that “Children are the most vulnerable group in the family. We need to take this seriously in crisis situations. If we fail to notice. This nation is at risk of losing one of its generations.”

It was predicted in Kawal and Warga Bantu that more than 50,000 have lost at least one parent due to the pandemic which causes major concern for these children. Worry that children may potentially drop out of school, become homeless or get involved in criminal activities is a major concern. There is also a concern for children forced into child marriage in some areas of Indonesia. Organisations such as Save the Children have been working hand in hand to help these children and provide counselling services to them.

Losing a parent is utterly devastating for any child and as the pandemic continues it is one devastation after another. Social workers are being stretched to their absolute limit as more and more children are in need of care and there is still a major concern that the situation will get even worse as deaths from COVID-19 continue to rise. Harapan Fian and Save the Children are only two of many organisations that are doing there best to keep children safe and give them the best care as possible given the situation and funding.

About the author: Kayla Clemson is currently enrolled at Murdoch University pursuing her degree in Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology. She is highly interested in health, education, mental health, and gender issues. Kayla is currently undertaking the virtual internship program at Harapan Fian (Fian’s Hope) with the ACICIS 2021 Virtual Development Studies Professional Practicum. Kayla received New Colombo Plan mobility grant to support her participation on this program.