Asia West Pacific

Justice for Children from Sentani, West Papua

Written by Petrus from an interview with Novi Selly Margaritha, March 2021

Blanket game in Holei Roo Orphanage

Indonesia ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on September 5, 1990, which means that the state is obliged to protect the rights of children to be able to live properly. Children are entitled to health insurance, proper housing, educational services and the comfort and security needed to support their development.

To have a sense of peace, security, and fulfillment of the basic rights of human beings who have been born on earth is the dream of Papuan children today. Armed conflict, ecological disasters, and poverty have separated many of them from their families, or displaced them to live in close quarters with other relatives.

Since the flash flood disaster in Sentani, West Papua, on March 16, 2019, more than 70 children ages 2-15 have not had a residence. Some stayed in Sentani with relatives, but the homes are often only 36 m2 (387 SF) with an average land area of ​​72 m2 (775 SF) occupied by 8 people. Due to poverty in their families and communities, more than 30 children have moved into the Holei Roo Orphanage. This situation makes children feel uncomfortable and very uneasy.

Selly Novi is one of the online training facilitator participants from Sentani, Papua. She works with the Christian Community Caring for Children in Papua to provide assistance to children in shelter and orphanages.

Selly and children at the Holei Roo Orphange

Holei Roo Orphanage March 2021

On March 7, 2021 and March 14, 2021 at the Sentani’s shelter, 66 children from the Sentani, Lani, Toraja, and Membramo practiced together: stopping, affirmation names, cooperative agreements, the light and lively called “big wind blows”, core self, and affirmation in pairs. They took 8 hours for two meetings. Session 2 took the sub-theme “At peace with oneself”. After the stopping activity, the participants read one of the bible verse quotations from Matthew 5: 9, namely “Blessed are those who bring peace, because they will be called the children of God.” The team did the Bible reading at this AVP-Creating Cultures of Peace workshop because all participants are Christians.

Since June 2020, AVP-Creating Cultures of Peace training has been introduced to the children at the Holei Roo Orphanage. Now everyday they get used to mentioning the affirmation names that have become their new names for their friends. They also practice being good listeners. They have started to speak up and even some of them, namely Mengampuni (Forgiving) Mina, Delightful Duta, Pintar (Clever) Pince, Damai (Peace) Dela, Jujur (Honest) Junior, Kasih (Loving) Kaleb,Cerdas (Smart) Ceryl, and Taat (Obedient) Trio, have started practicing stopping in their daily lives.

The team is happy because the AVP-Creating Cultures of Peace approach is slowly starting to bring change to children. They begin to be able to respect their friends and their environment more calmly and not scream at each other. The team believes that peace is possible and peace with justice is so much wanted in the land of Papua.

Practicing affirmation names by the survivor children in Sentani