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Jakarta Post

Disrupted, anxious, worried: Indonesian children speak up about their pandemic experience

  • Rizki Fachriansyah
    Rizki Fachriansyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, June 26, 2020   /   04:03 pm
Disrupted, anxious, worried: Indonesian children speak up about their pandemic experience Around 50 children from various regions in Indonesia take part in online hearings with the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) and Plan International Indonesia Foundation on June 25, 2020. They talked about various issues related to children’s rights amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy of Plan Indonesia/-)

As the government reallocates most of its resources to the mitigation of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, children from across the archipelago have spoken up to raise concerns regarding their right to education and protection during these unprecedented times.

Speaking in an online forum held by the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) and Plan International Indonesia Foundation (Plan Indonesia), several children shared their aspirations regarding access to health care, protection from any form of violence, access to online learning, as well as child marriage.

A recent study conducted by Plan Indonesia showed that the current health emergency had had a significant impact on children.

Access to education, for instance, has been disrupted as a result of physical distancing measures. Furthermore, children are also prone to heightened levels of anxiety, fear and worry the study found.

Girls with disabilities from marginalized communities have also been affected by the so-called “secondary impacts” of the outbreak due to their age, gender and other related factors, according to the report.

Read also: COVID-19 killed more than 200 young children, Indonesian pediatricians suspect

The children involved in the forum represented several children’s organizations from various regions across the country, including the national and regional chapters of the Children’s Forum, Youth Coalition for Girls (YCG) in Riau, as well as Plan Indonesia’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) in Jakarta and East Nusa Tenggara.

Plan Indonesia executive director Dini Widiastuti said in a statement that she expected the forum to serve as a bridge between children and the government.

Around 50 children from various regions in Indonesia take part in online hearings with the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) and Plan International Indonesia Foundation on June 25, 2020. They talked about various issues related to children’s rights amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Around 50 children from various regions in Indonesia take part in online hearings with the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) and Plan International Indonesia Foundation on June 25, 2020. They talked about various issues related to children’s rights amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy of Plan Indonesia/-)

“We support children in making their voices heard by the state commission, with the hope that they will be taken into account in the policy-making process and evaluation of policies in the context of protection and fulfillment of children’s rights, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dini said.

KPAI deputy chairperson Rita Pranawati conveyed her appreciation for the forum.

“I am proud to see Indonesian children can deliver recommendations directly to the KPAI and will be used as a cornerstone of the KPAI in providing policy input to the government. Your passion encourages us to realize equal protection and empowerment of children throughout Indonesia,” Rita said.