About 3 million of Jakarta’s children may have public spaces designed especially for them as the city administration plans to conduct a pilot project to create a “child friendly” city.
Central Jakarta, South Jakarta and North Jakarta will pilot the project.
East Jakarta, which the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas PA) says has recorded the highest number of child abuse cases, is not on the administration’s list yet.
Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo recently said that he did not rule out East Jakarta from his program.
But the administration’s decision to prioritize the three municipalities was made because they were the most prepared among other municipalities and regency in the capital in terms of administrative affairs, budget and infrastructure.
“Just be patient,” he said.
“Our commitment is to encourage the remaining two [East Jakarta and West Jakarta] to follow through after we’re done with these three.”
Jokowi, however, said that the administration had yet to establish specific areas within the three municipalities where the child friendly city programs would run.
He also did not elaborate on the specific criteria a city should meet to be considered child friendly.
Commission chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait lauded the administration’s plan, under which children’s spaces will be built in different areas of the three municipalities, including in slum areas, and will be equipped with computers and libraries.
But he said it was important for the administration to explain a measurable set of parameters that qualified the three municipalities as models for other municipalities in creating a child friendly city.
“Things that have to be measured include the safety of children, the existence of adequate regulations protecting children when they have to deal with child abuse and the number of street children and child prostitutes,” he said.
He added that none of the five municipalities would qualify to take part in the pilot project if the number of child abuse cases was taken into account as the number of such cases remained high in all municipalities.
The commission recorded 2,637 child abuse cases in Greater Jakarta last year — 1,075 of these cases incorporate some sexual dimension.
“Another parameter I think the administration should take into account is that if a house is not smoke-free, it’s not child friendly because smoke can threaten the health of children,” Arist said.
Shinta Ariyanti, a mother of two who lives in Menteng, Central Jakarta, said she welcomed the administration’s plan.
She said she had encouraged her children to play in parks because she realized that her children needed to interact with nature, not only with people.
“It is such a good idea. I am getting bored of taking my kids to malls every weekend,” said the 36-year-old businesswoman.
“I think the best place for children to play is in open spaces.”
Housewife Saras and white-collar worker Budiyanto Halim, a couple living in Kuningan, South Jakarta, hoped that the administration would realize the plan as soon as possible.
“Jakarta lacks open spaces for children, so I think its a good plan,” said Saras.
“I hope that by the time I have a baby, the open spaces are already built so I can take my baby there every weekend,” the newlywed said. (hrl)