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Jakarta Post

On Jakarta’s streets, a lost generation?

  • Talia Shadwell

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, February 13 2012   /  10:00 am

Student: Yayasan Annur Muhiyam offers free schooling and refuge to transient children in Jakarta.As trains trundle past crowds of commuters, it would be easy to miss the small girl who shrinks from the gaze of passersby in a quiet corner of Jakarta’s Manggarai station.

She slides low in her seat, tracking us from the corners of her eyes before flashing a sheepish grin as she realizes she has been spotted.

Meta has been sleeping rough at the railway station for almost two weeks, trying to find a job so she can send money to her family in Bogor. She says she is 15 years old — the minimum age for children to legally enter the workforce — but her slight build and soft features suggest she is much younger.

She says she was forced to leave home after her father was imprisoned for being unable to pay his debts, leaving her mother and six siblings to fend for themselv...