Relationships of Reciprocity: How a Two-Day Community-Based Tourism Program Brings a Trifold Benefit to Those Involved

Written by: Will Griffiths


The annual Haarlemmermeer Community-Based Tourism program continued this year when a group of students from Haarlemmermeer school in the Netherlands engaged in activities and experiences of cultural learning and exchange in Kampung Code, Yogyakarta. The students are the third Haarlemmermeer group to visit Code for this experience of cross-cultural learning, each year facilitated by Project Child Indonesia (PCI) to promote education, community self-empowerment, and cross-cultural learning and relationships. Code community members conducted workshops for the Haarlemmermeer students over the two days whilst the students also received a deeper insight into one of PCI’s primary initiatives; it’s Drinking Water Program (DWP). Students engaged in an information session regarding the context and importance of PCI’s DWP, and visited a school to see the Drinking Water infrastructure in action. The Community-Based Tourism program is an initiative that PCI believes in and one that results in a trifold benefit.

PCI is underpinned by the belief that everyone “can just do good.” However behind that idea is the experience and learning that promotes the empowerment of that idea. For the students of Haarlemmermeer, this Community-Based Tourism program represents such experience and learning. Under the heat of the Indonesian sun, Code community members conducted workshops for the students in Batik making, traditional dance, traditional cooking, and contemporary urban farming.

In a fun and engaging atmosphere of cross-cultural learning, the Haarlemmermeer students not only developed unique and useful skills, but by engaging in such a learning environment broadened their cultural outlook, and continued developing their sense of cultural relativity. Similarly, the school visit and participation in putting together one of PCI’s water filters, coupled with the DWP information session run by PCI, had an important effect. By witnessing the impact of the support Haarlemmermeer provides to PCI’s DWP, it converted the impact of their support to the DWP from an abstract idea, to a concrete reality. This in turn promotes the maintenance and development of the relationship between Haarlemmermeer and PCI, and involves the students in that relationship in a way only achieved through personal participation.

For Code, this Community-Based Tourism program represents and develops their self-empowerment and self-development into a community that facilitates their own sustainable tourism. Whilst PCI facilitated the workshops, it was the community of Code that developed and ran these workshops. Not only is this empowering for the community and its members, demonstrating to the students the beauty of art and dance, local flavours, and the ingenuity of urban farming techniques, but further promotes the relationship between the community and the school of Haarlemmermeer. The students of Haarlemmermeer and Code’s community members will forever have those experiences shared together, and the stories taken home by the students of Haarlemmermeer will be underpinned by themes of cultural learning and understanding, promoting to those around them the idea that the world exists beyond their immediate context.

Local games

For PCI, the benefit received through this program only exists through the benefit received by others. Without support, PCI is just an idea. This program, by providing to Haarlemmermeer students the context of PCI’s DWP and community engagement efforts, and demonstrating the necessity of that program, promotes the continued relationship between Haarlemmermeer and PCI and continued support of PCI’s programs. PCI is beyond grateful to the Haarlemmermeer community who, at event’s end, presented PCI with a donation of €4000, fundraised by the students themselves. A true testament to the relationship, and a big step in furthering student access to clean drinking water in Indonesia.

The two-day Community-Based Tourism program took place in a fun and energetic atmosphere, but had serious, practical motives and outcomes. The ultimate message to the students of Haarlemmermeer was that through the process of continued self-learning, you can be the change you want to see in the world, and that individual acts have global outcomes. The experiences engaged in, the relationships formed, and the learning received hoped to inspire the students of Haarlemmermeer, and upon their return to the Netherlands, it is hoped that they can inspire those around them. It is true, and PCI firmly believes, that if we open our eyes to the world, everyone can just do good.

Youth Volunteer Movements Around The World

By: Felice Valeria (Content Writer Intern)


The phrase “the youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow” by Nelson Mandela is indeed true. As the future agents of change, it is crucial for youths to begin generating positive changes in their own communities. Initiating and partaking in youth volunteer movements is one of the examples of how they could fulfill their duties as leaders of the future. Henceforth, it is no doubt that there have been abundant volunteer movements established by young people all around the world to bring about betterment to their communities through the projects and initiatives that are carried out under the movements. These are a few examples of notable youth volunteer movements that have been acknowledged by the international community as having been contributing to the said causes:

  1. ONE Youth Ambassador; This campaign and advocacy youth organization has fought for the alleviation of poverty and preventable diseases in Africa, which has involved more than nine million people around the world. The teams are widespread across many countries, which include the United States (US), the United Kingdom, France, Canada, and so forth. One of its remarkable achievements includes its success in securing legislation in the US, Canada, and the European Union (EU) to generate transparency in the extractives sector, in which corruption could be eventually eliminated, and thus, there would be more allocation of money for oil and gas revenues in Africa to fight poverty.
  2. Afrika Youth Movement; This movement is known for its advocacy and empowerment efforts to protect and guarantee the rights of African citizens to be fulfilled. This youth-led movement consists of more than five thousands members across 40 countries in Africa and the diaspora.  It is the participation and development of African youth that are highly encouraged, which have been encouraged through numerous real actions and initiatives. The acknowledgement of untapped voices of the Africans was the main motive of the establishment of this particular movement, which has made this movement becoming invaluable and prominent for the development of African youths.
  3. Count Me In; Count Me In has claimed itself as the world’s largest youth-led movement, in which 10 million youths across 100 countries have been positively impacted by the programs carried out by the movement. This movement aims to empower young people through their connections with the world to take initiatives in contributing to their communities, such as through volunteerism, mentorship, and community development. Hundreds of community service projects have been developed by this movement, with over 100 million volunteer hours to date and over $2.3 billion value.

Those are only three out of thousands of volunteer movements that are spread across the world. The voluntarily-taken initiatives show how more youths have been caring to the causes that might determine the future of our world, and how it is not impossible for young people to generate both small and big changes for the betterment of the world despite their young age. Hence, stay motivated and let’s contribute to better our world by initiating or joining volunteer movements! Everything starts from small changes before they are collected and forming larger things, which would gradually show off their prominence per se as time goes by.

The Crisis of Clean Water in the Riverbank Residents

by: Nadya Haira
Teaching Learning Assessor intern (Sekolah Sungai)


The rise of population growth has prompted higher water use. The necessity for good quality water means not just any readily available water but that which can be used to fulfill daily needs, such as drinking, bathing, washing clothes, washing dishes, and gardening. Moreover, the needs of water has also increased.

The main sources of river water pollution/contamination in Indonesia come from domestic or household waste, generally in the form of feces, dish and clothing detergents, animal excrements, and fertilizers from plantations and farms. There are also traces in the water supply of medical drug contamination from sources such as birth control pills to pesticides and oil. Filth and urine waste contamination have played a role in increasing the levels of E. coli bacteria within the water. In big cities such as Jakarta and Yogyakarta, the levels of E. coli are outside the normal range not only in the river but also in the underground well water in the areas where residents live. Contaminated water such as those seen in Indonesia can cause different sorts of diseases, such as: Diarrhea, Hepatitis A, Lead poisoning, Malaria, and Polio.

According to WHO, in every year there are 1.7 million kids who die from diarrhea brought by an unhealthy environment, mainly because of contaminated water. In Indonesia, clean water is a provision ensured in Article 33 UUD 1945 passage (3) which peruses “Earth and water and the natural resources contained therein are controlled by the state and are utilized for the greatest prosperity of the general population”.

“Bumi dan udara dan sumber daya alam yang terkandung di dalam didukung oleh negara dan digunakan untuk kemakmuran terbesar rakyat”.

More recently, the policy was emphasized in Law No. 23 of  2014 concerning Regional Government, reaffirming that fulfillment of clean water for the community is one of the responsibility and obligations of the administration and local government as part of the public services.

The National Socio-Economic Survey (Susenas) by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) noticed an expansion in households which have access to decent drinking water sources in Indonesia. In 2012 just 65.05 percent of households units had access to decent drinking water sources. In 2014, 68.11 percent of households had such access. This figure rose again in 2017 to 72.04 percent. The low access to clean water was because of problems in the implementation of drinking water and sanitation. On a global scale the problems are:

(a) The scale of the need – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene to Half the World’s Population.

The slight scale of the issue is a test in itself. It will be no little accomplishment for half the world’s population to get sustained access to safe water, essential sanitation and great good hygiene practices (and to do as such in 15 years). In fact, critical institutions like health care facilities and schools lack water and sanitation. A study in 54 low- and middle-income countries found that 38% of health care facilities lack access to an improved water source, 19% lack sanitation and 35% do not have water and soap for handwashing (World Health Organization & United Nations’ Children’s Fund, 2015). The scale of the need will increase, especially as populations grow, available freshwater is utilized and polluted at increasing rates and the climate changes.

(b) Maintaining Long-Term Water, Sanitation and Cleaning Services

The focus over the past few decades has been on water and sanitation infrastructure. This approach requires a highly educated, skilled workforce and often does not reach the most marginalized communities. All the while the poorest communities are most lacking in quality water and sanitation. Nearly all the poorest 25% of the world lacks tap water and coverage inequalities between rich and poor are even greater for sanitation than water (Joint Monitoring Program of UNICEF and WHO, 2014). The ongoing operation and maintenance of this infrastructure is very challenging. For example, 30% of water pumps in Africa do not work. The failure of community water and sanitation systems is often a failure of operation and maintenance, not because of failure of basic technology. Moreover, public awareness to conduct clean and healthy lifestyles is also still low. They do not care about the sources of water itself and just use it.

Furthermore, according to the United Nations, more than one billion people do not have access to clean water, three billion people do not have adequate sanitation services, and the death rate from infectious diseases through less clean water reaches three million deaths per year. In addition to people who live in areas with poor water availability, poor water quality causes those who live near water bodies to also have difficulty in accessing clean water and good sanitation. River water pollution, such as from industry, agriculture, and domestic activities, burdens the river so that it is no longer able to provide people living in the vicinity with good quality water. Residents of the riverbank are currently forced to use dirty water for daily activities.


This phenomenon can be seen in Jogja. There are three major rivers as the heart of the city including Gajah Wong River, Winongo River and Code River. One of the rivers that deserves the spotlight is the Gajah Wong river. Behind the beauty and splendor of the city of Yogyakarta, it turns out there is still one urgent matter that is still neglected and lacks attention: the Gajah Wong River.

Garbage is still scattered here and there. The mountain of garbage have become a common sight for people around the river. Gajah Wong River has experienced pollution due to the disposal of organic and inorganic waste from the surrounding environment. Most of the garbage around the Gajah Wong river is the waste of plastic food wrap. In addition to the mountainous waste around the Gajah Wong river, the color of river water has changed to black and moldy due to pollutants originating from deposits of organic waste.

Gajah Wong river is located in the middle of the city and also near the Sunan Kalijaga UIN, a fact which has led to the construction of many boarding houses near the river. The accumulation of garbage is due to the lack of control of the people (including UIN students). They use the river bank as the location closest to dispose of their garbage every day. Even though around Gajah Wong river, it is difficult to find land or infiltration wells during the rainy season.

This greatly affects the people who live in the villages around the riverbanks. One of their main water sources is from the Gajah Wong river. When the river is polluted, they will find it difficult to find the availability of other clean water to use in their daily needs such as bathing, washing dishes and clothes. As a result, they will forcefully use the Gajah Wong river water.

Moreover, since 2013, there is no longer a river that meets quality standards or is in good condition (not contaminated with waste or any impurities). The number of rivers with fulfilling status to light pollutants is also zero per 2014. Meanwhile, the moderate-polluted status of the river per 2015 is zero. Similarly, the number of heavily polluted rivers has a smaller number. That is, rivers that meet quality standards or in good conditions are increasingly difficult to find. Not surprisingly, households increasingly rely on bottled water as a source of decent drinking water, along with the deteriorating quality of rivers in Indonesia. This problem regarding water needs serious handling, if Indonesia does not want to experience a water crisis in 2025. Water crises can also lead to conflict.

Therefore, as almost all human activities require water, the need is absolute. Water is also the right of life for every person protected by laws that must be fulfilled. In addition, deteriorating water quality will increase the costs that must be incurred in obtaining clean water sources and are suitable for consumption. Not only the government, the community also has to maintain clean water sources so they are not contaminated.


Read more:

Socialization about stunting in Kricak

On March 14th 2019, Project Child Indonesia held “Sosialisasi & Pemeriksaan Tumbuh Kembang Anak” at Sekolah Sungai Kricak. The event started at 08.30 until 11.30 WIB and 43 mothers with their children came at this event. It is one of our events which planned to be held in Kricak and the community was so enthusiastic to participate in “Sosialisasi & Pemeriksaan Tumbuh Kembang Anak”. During this event, we also collaborate with one of community groups in kricak “Pembinaan Kesejahteraan Keluarga” or known as “PKK”.

This event has two agendas, firstly, socialization about stunting and secondly, screening on the children’s health and growth. Both agenda assisted by dr. Alya and dr. Indira, graduated medical students from Gadjah Mada University.

In the first session, the facilitators were talked about the extensive definition of stunting, the effect of stunting on children’s life and also the steps to prevent stunting. Based on dr. Alya presentation, stunting has serious impacts on children because of the lack of nutrition supply. It will deter the developments of children cognitively and physically. For instance, cognitive impacts like poor cognition and physical impacts like impaired growth which caused children to be underdeveloped. Thus, Indonesian government’s nowadays has a big mission to reduce the number of stunting to help the children grow well according to the standard growth.

In the second session, dr. Alya and dr. Indira in collaboration with PKK leaders held a health screening to the children. This health screening, also include the examination of children’s weight and height. After measurement, the doctor gave personal analysis and consultation to each mother with their children.

There are two important points of outcomes from the “Sosialisasi & Pemeriksaan Tumbuh Kembang Anak” event. Firstly, mothers got insights to improve their awareness about children health especially stunting. Secondly, mothers can understand and control their children nutritions supply based on the doctor personal suggestion.

Dance Workshop in Code

Project Child Indonesia held Dance Workshop in Kampung Wisata Code. This event took 5 meetings from 25th January 2019 until 8th March 2019. It is one of our agenda which plan to be held in Code to support the community for developing their potential to become community-based tourism. The dance workshop usually held at 18.30 – 20.00 WIB in each meeting, usually around 5 mothers and 13 children came in this workshop.  During this workshop, we collaborate with the head of dance community in Code.

The purpose of this dance class is to activate and develop their competency as a dance performer in the community. We invited mothers and children who often perform dance in various shows in their community. This workshop assisted regularly by Jon Charette, Project Child Indonesia intern who were actively join a dance studio back in his hometown New Jersey U.S. The choreography in this workshop are meant to collaborate mothers and children in one song of contemporary dance. In addition, this dance illustrates the synergy and togetherness in diversity.

They practiced once a week for both mothers and children. So, they can learn the detail of each parts of their own. During the workshop, they learned step by step and the correct position of their moves. Then, the class will be finished after three or four times of a whole practice. They really enjoyed the lessons given and were not ashamed to ask which part they did not understand. It made Jon as a trainer happy because they gave him a lot of feedback.

In the last two weeks, the dance workshop were held simultaneously for mothers and the children and they had the practice together in one session. On the last week, the media team of Project Child Indonesia have recorded their full dance practice as a documentation for the team to have an independent practice.

4 WAYS TO CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR COMMUNITY THROUGH VOLUNTEERISM

Written by: Felice Valeria (Content Writer Intern)


In our previous article about youth volunteerism, we had stressed enough its utmost importance in enhancing personal development, whilst giving back to the community simultaneously. Hence, it is highly recommended for youths, as the next agents of change, to get involved in this kind of activity due to the abundant benefits it might generate, especially for the future. Nonetheless, several things are easier said than done; although people are willing to carry it out, many of them might have not known the feasible ways or channels to do it, which would then discourage them from contributing to their communities through this means. Therefore, here are some suggestions that you could take into account, which might be useful to assist you in seeking for any volunteering opportunities:


Join any youth or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Of course, the most obvious and feasible way to find any volunteering opportunities and getting involved in them is by joining any NGOs or youth organizations in your community! Usually, those organizations would have specific programs or events that allow people, either the members or non-members, to partake as volunteers, especially in grassroot communities. In order to easily find out any organizations existing in your community, you could ask your friends or relatives who are active to be volunteers, as well as seeking for information from the student organizations in your schools/universities, especially those who focus on social services. Usually, they have numerous links to those kinds of organizations. Just give it a try!

Find out the information on any websites which specifically provide volunteering opportunities.

There are many websites that are specifically established to provide volunteering opportunities! Of course, it is one of the feasible ways also. The activities or opportunities being featured could be done either locally or abroad. You could try to visit websites such as volunteermatch.org, allforgood.org, idealist.org, and many more, which you could find out through search engines. Just match the filters with your criteria, and voila, you will see a bunch of them!

Tutor a student in your schools/universities.

Volunteering is not only limited to being involved in grassroot communities. Being a tutor to a student could be considered as one of the ways to manifest your altruism as well! If there are any of your peers or your juniors in school/university who are seemingly in need of an academic assistance, you could probably offer your help to them. Not only you could develop your teaching skills, you could also make lasting friendships with them!

Offer your helps to any community organizations that suit your interests.

Community organizations have different causes one another, and it is your rights to find any community organizations that suit your interests in terms of volunteering. You could volunteer in a local school, a club in your university, or even in a hospital! You could contact any of the officers if there are any volunteering opportunities available. You would definitely make the most out of your volunteering experience if you enjoy where you are working at and what you are doing.


Those are a few of many volunteering suggestions that might help you to find any volunteering opportunities that suit you best. Being a volunteer is indeed an investment for your future, as it would give you unforgettable and invaluable experiences that you would hardly obtain anywhere else. No doubt, it would absolutely be worthy. Hence, let’s be a volunteer!

World Water Day 2019: “Leaving no one behind”

by Luisa Maria Geller

“Whoever you are, wherever you are, water is your human right.”
UN Water


Billions of people are still living without safe water, struggling to survive and thrive. Especially marginalized groups, like women, children, refuges, indigenous or disabled people are often overlooked and heavily affected by discrimination as they try to access and manage the safe water they need. Worldwide, one in four primary schools have no drinking water service, with pupils using unprotected sources or going thirsty. Consequently, more than 700 children under five years of age die every day from diarrhea linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.

People are left behind without safe water for different reasons, such as ethnicity, nationality, economic and social status as well as other factors like conflicts, environmental degradation, climate change or population growth.

Addressing the issue: World Water Day 2019

Access to safe water is critical to public health and important for a sustainable and stable development of global society. In 2010, the UN recognized the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life. Defined in Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), the UN aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. ‘Safe water’ is defined by a safely managed drinking water service. Therefore, the human right to water entitles everyone, without discrimination, to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use, including water for drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, and personal and household hygiene.

World Water Day 2019 on 22nd March tackles the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people still are being left behind. This year’s theme “Leaving no one behind” focuses on the adaption of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, questioning why there are still billions of people marginalized or ignored. In order to leave no one behind, society must focus on efforts towards including people. Water services must meet the needs of marginalized groups and their voices must be heard in decision-making processes. Regulatory and legal frameworks must recognize the right to water for all people, and sufficient funding must be fairly and effectively targeted at those who need it most.

How does it relate to Project Child Indonesia?

Even though the water availability in Indonesia is naturally sufficient, approximately 1 out of 8 households in the country has no access to safe water, which affects more than 27 million people in the country. 51 million Indonesians lack access to improved sanitation, increasing the chances of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea. Especially children are concerned by dehydration due to the lack of drinking water, which affects the student’s cognitive functions, limiting school performance and physical activity. Project Child Indonesia is aware of these issues. Therefore, PCI developed its Drinking Water Program (DWP), that is working towards the implementation of water filters in elementary schools, providing them not only with safe water, but furthermore with supplementary education about the importance of water, health, environment and how filtered water can improve the situation in all of these areas. The program shows an effective way of increasing clear water usage and aligns with the ideas of the SDG. Read more about PCI affords in our latest post http://projectchild.ngo/blog/2019/02/25/safe-drinking-water-in-yogyakarta/.

How can I help?

World Water Day 2019 is an occasion for PCI to emphasis its efforts concerning safe water within Indonesia. In order to increase the usage of water filters, awareness needs to be raised about the importance of the consumption of safe water. Therefore, the PCI keeps on with its work with local communities, other NGOs and governmental institutions in order to change the situation of people ‘left behind’ within the country. There are many possibilities to support PJI and their work. Learn more about them here: http://projectchild.ngo/get-involved/.

Furthermore, World Water Day 2019 can be seen as an impulse for more people to get familiar with the issue and support people that are heavily affected by poor water and sanitation conditions. Idea is to raise awareness why people are left behind without safe water and what can be done to reach them, about the reality of the water crisis and how it affects every aspect of society. Want to be a part of the movement? Check how to help on http://www.worldwaterday.org/.

On Three Dimensions of Literacy

by Muhammad Nur Alam Tejo, Research Intern PCI 2018


Technology plays a significant role in the society. One of its impacts includes the changing use of media from the printed ones to digital. Despite this shift, we need to act and react as wisely as we could. Therefore, meticulousness in perceiving the concept of literacy will help us understand the challenges within.

Todays, literacy has complicated conceptual problems. Even some researchers has preferred the term “literacies” to “literacy” (such as: Street, 1995; Hamilton, Barton, Ivanic, 1994) as it is assumed to be more apposite for social, cultural, and ideological matters which ‘we perceive, act, and read culturally’ (Street, 2001: 11). Diverse perspectives on literacy lead us to more complex social problems since they involve various layers of people. This is one of the literacy challenges related to social situation in the society.

Prior to digital era, the concept of “literacy” merely referred to the ability to understand information through reading and writing. Meanwhile, now it has been extended into the ability to write, read, and comprehend information through digital media, such as videos, voice records, graphs, and audiovisual. In fact, the impacts should be taken into account since digital literacy could contribute to people’s paradigm shift philosophically, sociologically, pedagogically, and culturally. This literacy is always closely related to people’s cultural and social contexts.

Three kinds of literacy dimensions proposed by Green (1988), the operational, cultural, and critical, define how literacy runs practically in the society. Due to the lack of attention on those dimensions, our pedagogical system too much focuses only on the operational one.  On the other hand, the cultural and critical dimensions seems to be left behind. It is proven by Indonesia’s low literacy rate in showing that we were in the 60th out of 61 surveyed countries, according to the result of PISA (Program for International Students Assessment) 2015. Should we implement the concept of those dimensions, we could foreshadow the challenges.  

The operational dimension is the basic one from literacy concept. It emphasizes on the ability to understand technical activities, including reading, writing, and comprehending information. In digital literacy context, it refers to the practical skills to understand how to operate digital media and fully make use of its features. The problems would be related to technical matters, for instance coding skill, graphic design, and statistical analysis.

The cultural dimension aims to upgrade one’s comprehension of cultural and social aspects in digital literacy into a specific context. It is important to apprehend cultural symbols and rituals for meaning making so that the values of literacy will still suit one’s cultural context. It might not be the primary discussion in the overview of our educational system even though it is substantial in shaping the base of human knowledge. It works in a non-materialistic matter which means cultural values and characters also play a role in meaning shaping on one’s knowledge.

On the other side, the critical dimension highlights one’s critical skill on texts and artifacts into issues like social agents and power, social representation, and other instruments. In digital literacy, this dimension consists of collective knowledge of each human. It defines the steps to be taken by human according to the analysis on the real problems.

It is important for us not only to reflect an educational system which accommodates digital literacy but also consider the dimensions on literacy concept. The objective is real simple which is to construct our people’s values, characters, and critical skill. We hope that all the hustle and bustle in digital space will not be a pain in the ass in the society. Digital literacy education that could beautifully combine the operational, cultural, and critical dimensions is expected to be the cure to any negative outcomes. Hence, Indonesians could enjoy the benefits of technology, not only the drawbacks.


References:

  • Green, B. (1988). Subject-specific literacy and school learning: A focus on writing. Australian Journal of Education. 32 (2)
  • Street, B. (2001). Literacy and Development: Ethnographic Perspectives. London: Routledge.


THE BENEFITS OF YOGA FOR CHILDREN FROM VULNERABLE ENVIRONMENTS

by Melissa Nas

If every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate
violence from the world within one generation
Dalai Lama


Indonesia, a nation which lays in an area which is prone to natural disasters, has experienced over 30 major earthquakes, more than 50 floods and landslides, volcanic eruptions and disastrous tsunamis (Asian Disaster Reduction Center, 2016).  Hence, Indonesian residents are repeatedly exposed to significant traumatic events. In these situations, emergency first-aid responders face the task of how identify the means by which distress is expressed in Central Java culture as well how to treat such a large population for health problems.

In the aftermath of disasters, children are among those at the highest risk for developing psychological trauma, such as overt-aggression, withdrawal, post-traumatic stress symptoms, suffer increased anxiety and fear similar disasters arising from their memories (Belfer, 2006; Norris et al., 2002). Unique to this developmental period, is the possibility that these distressed children may exhibit decreased school performance. A study done by Widyatmoko et al. (2011) point out that working with local teachers for identifying and screening distress among children impacted by a disaster provides important insights into the context of trauma for that particular community. Two years after the earthquake in 2006, teachers identified that children exhibit decreased school performance (decreases in student achievement, lack of motivation to study, absences, and the inability to concentrate and master school lessons), a fear of the traumatic experience re-occurring and emotional problems.

Large-scale screening for children’s mental health problems in the wake after a disaster is challenging, through emergency health care providers report feeling unprepared to respond to the children’s mental needs. There is a need for a more efficient screening tool that is able to identify post-disaster mental health problems in children. Therefore, it is important to recognize the potential utility of teachers as an effective resource for assessing the psychological state of children exposed to disasters. Thence, first-aid responders have started to partner up with schools (Widyatmoko et al., 2011).

This article does not only address the potential teachers have for screening mental health problems in children after disasters, but also address their role of implementing yoga exercises in schools for children to cope with the aftermath of disasters. This could eliminate the decreased school performances and help to care for the children’s feelings of anxiety and distress. Several studies indicate the beneficial effects of yoga in children. According to Telles et al. (2012) yoga can be used in managing trauma related to natural disasters, combat and terrorism and interpersonal violence. Learning yoga can empower a person’s self-determination and regain their sense of being in control of their lives. Yoga can be used as a preventive technique as well as a means of improving children’s well-being, improve adjustment among self-regulatory capacities and stress, including rumination, intrusive thoughts and emotional arousal (Telles et al., 2013).

Although yoga can benefit children’s well-being in many ways, this article mainly focuses on the effect that yoga can have on stress and anxiety levels in children. After a tremendous disaster, anxiety is a major disorder having significant impact on a child’s behavior in the classroom, their ability to focus, their overall physical health and well-being. Teachers can provide vital information regarding the child’s need and present a setting that is structured and supportive. Rosenberg’s study (2018) found that 10 minutes of daily yoga practice in the classroom had a significant impact on the anxiety levels of children. Therapeutic yoga appears to be useful in helping children cope with stress and anxiety by practices encompassing asanas, pranayama and mindfulness/meditation sessions as it brings a calming effect to the mind. Breathing techniques (pranayama) and deep relaxation (yoga nidra) induces change in brain activity, lowers oxidative stress, activated the parasympathetic nervous system and therefore reducing the heart rate. When children learn these practices and do them consistently, they can distress themselves, connect with their inner world through the coordination of mind, body and breath. Thus, they may not need to depend on medication whenever they are stressed (Nanthakumar, 2017).  

The NGO organization, Project Child Indonesia, located in Yogyakarta, wants every child in Indonesia to have the opportunity to learn, to have a healthy start, and to feel supported and secure living in a clean environment that is prepared for natural disasters (Project Child, 2019). Project Child’s Sekolah Sungai offers an alternative form of education to children of a vulnerable community which is prone to natural disasters. Therefore, they could make a start implementing a 10 minute of daily yoga at the beginning of their classes to calm the active physical behavior and minds of the children. A ‘sun salutation-exercise’ at the beginning of each class with an additional 2-minute breath exercise could make the children be more aware and focused before the class starts. Because of creating awareness, yoga could help the children understand that they can contribute to the solution instead of being a part of the problem of their community. Additionally, a full 45-minute yoga class could be implemented each semester to let the children connect with their inner-selves and experience the environment around them in a new way.

Several studies mentioned in this article have shown yoga may be a great benefit to a child’s mental health. Therefore, I strongly recommend integrating yoga into the curriculum of schools after it has become a viable option to address emerging emotional and physical health problems in children. If yoga sessions are incorporated as a part of physical education or after school hours (such as Project Child Indonesia) as an extra activity, it can enhance psychological health in children. Therefore, schools should give equal importance to yoga as other school subjects as yoga’s positive impact on holistic health have been uncontroverted.


  1. The Indian science of living, yoga, includes several practices such as physical postures (asanas), voluntary regulated breathing (pranayama), meditation, conscious sensory withdrawal (pratyahara), and philosophical principles (Taimini, 1986)
  2. Anxiety is generally a state of unwarranted fear of nervousness about real or imagined circumstances. There are many symptoms, and they may vary from one person to another, affecting physical and mental health. Anxiety causes stomach aches, headaches and dizziness in children.


Reference:

  • Asian Disaster Reduction Center (2016). Disaster information archive: Indonesia. Retrieved February 22, 2019 from Asian Disaster Reduction Center website: https://www.adrc.asia/countryreport/IDN/2016/Indonesia_CR2016A.pdf
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Safe drinking water in Yogyakarta

by Ian Granit


Safe drinking water is essential to human wellbeing and is a basic human right. The water availability in Indonesia is naturally sufficient due to its heavy rainfall, it is one of the countries with the highest water availability in the whole world. However, approximately 1 out of 8 households in the country lack access to safe drinking water, increasing the chances of waterborne diseases such as diarrhea. A survey in Yogyakarta Province in 2015, through the Government and UNICEF, showed that 2 out of 3 drinking water samples were contaminated by faecal bacteria. Another research study from Bandung Health Office (2012) showed that only 13.33 percent of water samples from tap water had good quality.

The impact of contaminated water has shown to have detrimental consequences on children’s long-term health. Furthermore, dehydration due to lack of drinking water has a severe effect on cognitive functions, limiting school performance among other things for children across the. Proper sanitation technologies and lack of integrated planning is a major obstacle in developing countries suffering from shortages of clean water. One solution to Indonesia’s lack of clean water is the implementation of water filters.

One of the programs in Project Child, the Drinking Water Program (DWP), is working towards the implementation of water filters in elementary schools in the Yogyakarta region. The filters are cheap and easy to maintain considering the benefits that they are able to provide. Utilizing tap water through filtration produce many advantages to children’s health by increasing the availability of water, especially clean water. Furthermore, the filters have positive effect on the environment by reduced single plastic use. The filters present an alternative to plastic bottles, the most common way of accessing clean drinking water in Indonesia. Further and increased use of water filters will therefore decrease the single usage of plastic in addition to the health benefits it brings.

The implementation of water filters is therefore an effective way of reducing plastic waste, increasing clean water usage, decrease dehydration and therefore increase the quality of education. This aligns with 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals:  

  • Point 6; Clean water and sanitation – water filters have the ability of providing clean water and better accessibility of water were tap water is not safe to drink.
  • Point 3; Good health – better accessibility to clean water will increase water consumption, increased water consumption has several benefits towards people’s health.
  • Point 4; Quality education – decreased dehydration amongst students due to water and less diseases from contaminated water will lead to better capabilities of coping with education.
  • Point 13; Climate action – water filters provide an alternative to plastic bottle usage, the impact of this will decrease the plastic waste that affects the environment in a negative way.

There are several benefits if more water filters were to be implemented in Indonesia. However, many children are raised to never drink tap water and a large part prefer to drink other things than water. The access of drinks containing sugar, caffeine and the perception of these drinks are an obstacle that Indonesia need to address if water filters are to be accepted as an alternative to plastic bottle use or boiled water. Project Child are aware of these difficulties and in addition to providing the schools with water filters they have supplementary education about the importance of water, health, environment and how the filters can help all of these areas.  

In the future, to increase usage of the water filters, awareness needs to be raised about the importance of drinking clean water and using water filters. This includes support from communities, other NGOs, government organisations and a change in how people perceive plastic usage and the filtration of water.