07/10/2009 - On July 8th, Indonesia, the Muslim world’s largest democracy, held its first round of 2009 presidential elections. The current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 59, is expected to win a second five-year term.
Formal round-one results will not be announced until late July. But exit polls show Yudhoyono easily exceeding the 50 percent mark required to make second-round voting unnecessary. An Indonesian survey predicts a 60 percent win for the president, with rivals Megawati Sukarnopurtri at 27 percent and Jusuf Kalla at 13 percent.
Indonesia is the world’s fourth-largest country with a population of 240 million. This year marks the nation’s second direct election; the first was held in 2004.
Corruption is rampant among Indonesian public officials. President Yudhoyono’s crack-down on them has resulted in many officials being jailed. In a recent interview with Reuters, Yudhoyono, a career military officer, pledged to continue to clean up government if re-elected.
SOS Children’s Villages Provides Homes for Needy Indonesian Children
President Yudhoyono has reined in Islamic terrorism and ended the civil war in Aceh Province. The stability he has created has contributed to impressive economic growth. Despite the global downturn, Indonesia’s economy is expected to grow 4 percent this year.
Indonesian boy from SOS Children's Villages
But healthy macro-economic indicators don’t tell the whole story. Poverty remains rampant in the country, which comprises an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands. SOS Children’s Villages, a charity that offers stable homes to orphaned and unwanted children, has been in Indonesia since 1972. There, it operates eight SOS Children's Villages, a school, and a string of youth facilities, kindergartens, vocational training centers, and daycare/counselling centers.
SOS On the Ground to Protect Children During Earthquakes and Civil War
In addition, SOS has set up emergency relief programs to help children and families survive natural disasters and political violence. During civil war in East Timor in 1999, SOS provided shelter to refugees from an orphanage in Dili for the duration of the war.
After a devastating tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sumatra in late 2004, killing 100,000 people, SOS rushed in to help. Under very difficult circumstances, SOS offered immediate relief to traumatized children and homeless families.
If you would like to help an orphaned or abandoned Indonesian child secure a loving SOS home and a shot at a hopeful future, consider sponsoring a child in Indonesia.