Terre des Hommes Netherlands and its partner organisations have many ways to combat child exploitation. These vary from supporting police, encouraging policy change, and mobilising community leaders to make a change for the protection of children. For the Surabaya Children Crisis Center (SCCC) in Surabaya City, Indonesia, it comes in the form of a coffee shop.
Surabaya has many problems such as poverty, which contributes to the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation. To tackle this problem, SCCC formed “Kappas” in 2020, a child club that would campaign for the protection of children and spread awareness about the dangers of sexual exploitation. SCCC also built a coffee shop called ‘Kedai Kala Rasa’ in February 2021, which became a gathering place for young people to relax. Through this space, SCCC invites visitors to care more about children's rights.
At the coffee shop, young people often gather to relax. In the midst of this atmosphere, the children who are members of Kappas held discussions and useful activities. In the end, children outside their community felt interested and willing to join together in campaigning for child protection.
With around 10 members, participants in the child club also invited others to join and meet in the coffee shop. Hanging out is part of the lifestyle of teenagers and young people in big cities like Surabaya. Their habit of using the internet is also the reason that places such as coffee shops and cafes provide free internet access.
Therefore, SCCC took the initiative to build a coffee shop that can be used as an activity center for Kappas children. At the coffee shop, Kappas children can interact with other young people in a more relaxed atmosphere and invite them to be involved in child protection efforts.
Kedai Kala Rasa is an open place. Anyone can come to hang out and have coffee. Because of that, Medy, one of the Kappas children who volunteered, did not hesitate to invite her friends, the street singers.
At first, the arrival of the street buskers was just to spend time having coffee. However, since Kedai Kala Rasa is often a place for discussion about children's rights, they learned about these important issues in their community. In fact, they seem to be 'envious' to see the progress made by Medy, a Kappas child member who has great knowledge about child rights. They also did not hesitate to learn from her because they saw Medy becoming more confident.
“Kedai Kala Rasa is not just a place to take advantage of my free time, but a place for me to learn,” said Medy.
From casual chats, children also learn about their rights and legal consequences if others violate it. At the coffee shop, children also learn to show social care where they jointly design activities and prepare agendas for hearings with members of the local Surabaya City government. Activities of the child club also receive budget support from the Voice for Change program from Terre des Hommes Netherlands.
“The main challenge that we faced in mentoring children is their lack of self-confidence, which makes them afraid to express their opinions to others. Therefore, through this coffee shop, we train them to be more confident. That's an important capital for them to be able to socialize and contribute," said Tisat Afriyandi, Secretary of SCCC.
The coffee shop will continue to be a haven for child advocates and former victims of child exploitation. As the Voice for Change program ends in 2021, support for these children will continue and awareness raising about child rights will be led by these young leaders.