SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Indonesia).

Semarang is a port city and the capital of the province of Central Java in Indonesia. Around 1.6 million people live in this city, which was named the cleanest tourist destination in Southeast Asia. The city is growing thanks to the economy, but this comes at a price: the infrastructure cannot keep up with the population growth, and the people live in slums. There they are exposed to the recurring floods in the region. Children are even more endangered by these harsh living conditions and at the same time victims of child marriage, which is still widespread in Indonesia.

Since 1984, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Semarang.

Of girls were married as children

Children are forced into marriage

In Indonesia, girls are still victims of child marriages. In fact, there are 1.2 million cases of child marriage in Indonesia. One in nine women aged 20-24 is married before she is 18. Child marriage is a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound. Specifically in Central Java province, where Semarang is located, between 10 and 15% of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18. The national target to end child marriage by 2030 requires a strong push from the government.

Of Semarang is considered slum area

Living in informal settlements

Semarang does not have the infrastructure to keep up with its rapid economic and demographic development. People move to the city in search of a better life and job opportunities, but they end up in one of the city's slums. About 1% of the city is considered a slum area, lacking affordable housing, proper sanitation and clean drinking water. Living in the slums is risky because Semarang is located between the sea and the mountains and is very prone to flooding. These conditions in turn lead to a high prevalence of epidemics such as dengue fever or diarrhoeal diseases. Children are most at risk due to the poverty prevailing in these slums, as they do not have access to medical care and education.

Your support makes a difference for children in Semarang

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Adults and children
Are supported in the community
Learn at our kindergartens and schools
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Children playing together. Siblings grow up with each other, and often form bonds that last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Indonesia).

How your support helps in Semarang

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run trainings so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Providing quality education
SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children and young people have access to high-quality education. We help them learn and develop in a safe and supportive environment. We train teachers on children’s rights and child-centered learning, so that each child can get the most out of their education. Young children spend time playing and learning at kindergarten. This prepares them for primary school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.