The bond of family
When they fell on hard times, Dina* and her husband felt they had no choice but to send their youngest son, Edi* to live in an orphanage.
“I didn’t have any option to care for him at home,” says Dina. “Many babies are being abandoned, I don’t want to be like that. So, I felt I had to put Edi in an institution – not to be abandoned, but left there for a while, so I can bring him home in the future.”
But Dina was haunted by the decision she felt forced to make. “When Edi first entered the orphanage, I felt I was in limbo, between dead and alive … I couldn't sleep, I didn't want to eat.”
Aware of Dina’s situation, Save the Children workers spent time with the family and convinced them that – even without a lot of money – their family was still the best place for Edi to grow up.
“Family is the most valuable thing. Families shouldn't be parted.” - Dina
Photographer: CJ Clarke/Save the Children
Edi has now returned home. “When I went to the orphanage to take Edi home, I was so happy … I thought he might not like it here. I thought he would not want to be in this house. But he and I bonded immediately and we didn't want to be apart from each other any more.”
How we know we're making a difference
The base of all our work with Families First has stemmed from what children in institutional care had to say about their lives. It was their voices that called for change, and their research that enabled Save the Children to advocate for an alternative approach to child protection.
As a result of Families First, child protection was made a national priority in Indonesia. In the last three years, more than 1,000 girls and boys have been protected from the risks of institutional care. Half of these success stories involved finding alternative family or community care for at-risk children to prevent them from entering an institution in the first place. Of children in care, some have been reunited with their families, and others adopted or settled in foster homes.
There has been an increased investment in family and community care by the Indonesian government, and a reframing of the role of social workers to support this. Referral systems for children in care have also been introduced – linking children to healthcare, counseling and legal services, which strengthen the ability of families to care for their children at home.
Who makes our program possible
This program is funded by the Australian Government. Through the government’s overseas aid program, Australians are providing children and families in Indonesia and around the world with the chance to achieve a brighter future. Find out more about how Australian Aid is changing lives here.
*Names have been changed
Banner image: CJ Clarke/Save the Children
Save the Children Australia is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).