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Singing Street Children against Sexual Exploitation

July 1st, 2021

People from poor communities are often overlooked and marginalised. For children, this is a tremendous problem as their voices for issues that concern them are not considered. Terre des Hommes Netherlands is changing this in Indonesia by working with local organisations that encourage children from any community to speak up.

The Surabaya Children Crisis Center (SCCC) had been mobilising children and youth to spread awareness about sexual exploitation and child rights for many years. With the support of TDHNL’s Voice of Change project, the Indonesia organisation has been able to reach many children in various ways. 

In January 2021, SCCC formed KAPPAS which stands for “Kelompok Arek Peduli Perlindungan Anak Surabaya'' (Children and Youth Group who care about Child Protection Issues in Surabaya in English). Through this group, talented children and youth from poor and vulnerable communities were invited to be advocates and learn about child protection issues in the City of Surabaya in East Java. 

Every weekend, KAPPAS members walk together in the main streets of the city to try to involve street children. After two months, they found a group of singers, consisting of one girl and four boys. The idea to invite talented street children and youth originated from KAPPAS members who are also children. After discussion, our team from SCCC agreed to support them”, said Ancha Maulana, a social worker from SCCC.

With collaboration between KAPPAS and the talented singers, TDHNL and the Down to Zero Alliance planned to provide them with financial support so that they can develop music videos about child rights and youth empowerment to campaign against sexual exploitation.

Through this effort, the children and youth group in Surabaya gained real experience in conducting advocacy and campaigns that grasped local issues and provided a larger platform for their voice to be heard. During the process, social workers witnessed how the children were motivated and gained confidence in raising their voice.

Intensive guidance and good assistance from SCCC to KAPPAS in this effort had been helpful. SCCC has successfully provided their assistance, including their resources and their staff, such as their office being used as a base camp for the singing street children.

Child participation is a key objective of TDHNL. By providing resources and information to vulnerable children such as those at risk of sexual exploitation in Indonesia, they are able to learn about issues in their environment and be empowered to solve them along with their peers. 

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