Changing the lives of children with disabilities in Indonesia

IKEA co-workers from Taiwan are heading to Indonesia to visit some new projects that we fund through Save the Children. Here’s a special guest post from Marwan and Tata Sudrajat from Save the Children Indonesia telling you about one little girl whose life has already been changed because of the project.

Dahlia is nine years old, and she has just started going to school for the first time. Why? Because she is hearing impaired and, like many children with disabilities in Indonesia, she has been excluded from school because schools and teachers don’t have the training or resources to teach children with disabilities.

Over the last two decades, life has improved for many Indonesians. However, children with disabilities are still denied many of their rights—including their right to an education.

The IKEA Foundation is funding a project through Save the Children to change this. We are working hard to convince everyone who plays a significant role in children’s lives—parents, communities, schools, healthcare and welfare workers, and government officials—to stand up for children with disabilities. We want all children to enjoy a full and decent life, to have their dignity respected, to learn self-reliance and to become active members in their communities.

Learning while playing - by Save the Children Indonesia
Learning while playing – by Save the Children Indonesia

The project works on:
• increasing children’s access to a high-quality education
• improving rehabilitation services for children and their parents
• teaching caregivers how to look after children with disabilities in their homes
• raising awareness among young people of the rights of children with disabilities.

By Save the Children Indonesia
Kids playing – By Save the Children Indonesia

How we’re helping children

So far, nearly 900 children with disabilities have been able to get support from the programme, including medical checkups, intensive medical care, tuition fees, counselling and medical items such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, crutches and glasses.

Twenty-two schools have learned how to become inclusive schools, and 18 children with disabilities have been enrolled in school. That may not sound like much, but the project only started recently. Considering schools and teachers never had the capacity or skills to include children with disabilities, this is significant progress.

Dahlia’s story

Dahlia is one of those children who has enrolled in school for the first time. For much of her life, her parents kept her isolated from the community. She was not even allowed to play outside because other children would make fun of her.

Dahlia in school uniform - by Save the Children Indonesia
Dahlia in school uniform – by Save the Children Indonesia

But Dahlia really longed to go to school and—with the IKEA Foundation’s support—Save the Children staff helped Dahlia get a hearing test and a hearing aid.

She also had a caseworker visit her at home several times to encourage her and give her speech therapy to boost her self-confidence. She can now say a few sentences, which she couldn’t before.

As part of the programme, Dahlia was also enrolled in school. She’s now a very happy student. She loves drawing and singing, and she has friends to play with. She’s growing much more confident as her speaking ability improves.

Singing and dancing - bye Save the Children Indonesia
Singing and dancing – bye Save the Children Indonesia

Dahlia’s dream has finally come true, and we want to make that dream come true for hundreds more children with disabilities in Indonesia.


    Juli Riegler