How Save the Children helps children with disabilities and their families in Indonesia

Our next group of IWitness Global Citizens is heading to Indonesia to see how our funding helps Save the Children run programmes for children with disabilities. In this post, Save the Children Programme Manager Wiwied Trisnadi explains the horrifying consequences of discrimination.

Around 130,500 children in Indonesia have disabilities. Many experience violence, neglect, and exploitation within their homes and communities. They often do not receive an education because their families can’t find ways for them to access education. Many caregivers don’t have the skills or understanding to care for them, and they don’t have access to high-quality services that would help them promote their children’s self-reliance.

Have a look at this short film about Gugun stepping out into the world.

Children with disabilities are often hidden away because their existence may lower a family or community’s sense of worth. They are often regarded as having no aptitude or skills, so some families believe they require superfluous and expensive support.

The Ministry of Social Affairs acknowledges that many children with disabilities sleep in unhygienic places separated from family members, and families and communities don’t address their needs, in large part because support structures generally don’t exist.

Through the Family-Based Care for Children with Disabilities programme, Save the Children—with support from the IKEA Foundation—helps Indonesian children with disabilities attain their right to enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity, promote self-reliance and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community.

Adnin with therapist laughing - by Save the Children
Adnin with therapist laughing – by Save the Children

We do this by developing community-based rehabilitation centres and inclusive schools so parents and caregivers can take better care of their children.

The programme has been running in Bandung, West Java, since 2012. Nearly 200 villages have established rehabilitation centres to provide services for children with disabilities, including physiotherapy, education, and health and psychological services. Last year 3,200 children with disabilities received physiotherapy in the community, 336 families received in-house therapy for their children, and 2,000 families received training in parenting and giving treatment to children within the family.

Children with disabilities are becoming more visible because their parents realise they deserve decent treatment. Families no longer feel ashamed about having children with disabilities.

Of course, there is still a long journey to improve the quality of life for so many children, especially children with disabilities. And our work wouldn’t be possible without the support and resources that the IKEA Foundation is providing us with.

    Juli Riegler