It’s a strange thing to live in Jakarta as an expat. You live here, and you take advantage of all the great things that Jakarta has to offer you; you can eat in great restaurants and have someone do your laundry for you, someone to care for your kids, a driver to take you to work, live in a house that you could never afford if you were back home, explore Indonesia on your holidays, and the big shopping malls on the weekend. The world seems to open for you.
But forever niggling in the corner of your mind (hopefully) is the feeling that something is not quite right. Here you are enjoying the high life in the bulebubble but when you open your eyes to what is happening on the street you see poverty everywhere. Little children begging at the lights, families living in garbage carts, hungry faces everywhere. People from all over Indonesia come to Jakarta to make their fortunes and end up with very little. In order to live in a city you have to open your eyes and get out of the bubble and take the trouble to see what is going on.
We met one such lady on the weekend who started an orphanage called “Lestari Sayang Anak” which means “forever loving children”. Her name is Ingrid van der Mark and she started the orphanage 2 years ago in Cipete, Jakarta. She currently has 5 little boys being loved and cared for at her place. They are adorable and melt your heart when you look at their big, brown, Indonesian eyes. And you feel happy that someone took the trouble to find a home for these boys for as long as they need it.
It was a great feeling to be there, we were welcomed and shown around, and got lots of cuddles from the little boys. There are lots of things that this place needs to continue to be able to look after the boys. Of course they need all the things that babies need to be grow and be healthy and clean, but they also need financial help for the endless round of bills that show up every month.
If you are a bule living in Jakarta, or an Indonesian who thinks that they want to give something back to this city and its future generation, please look for “Lestari Sayang Anak” on Facebook or contact us for further information on how you can help. If you have a spare $5, well, it goes a long way here and it will go straight to the kids which is an amazing feeling. If you are living in another country and are appalled by the third world conditions that people are living in around the world and don’t know how to help, well this could be a start for you. It’s time for people to wake up to the realities of the world. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Sometimes too much reality drags you down and you don’t know how to move amongst it, and then you meet someone who inspires you and who got off their butt and instead of saying “Well, what can I do about it?”, actually did something, and you realise that it is not hard to make a difference.
Wake up!! 16,000 children die every day from hunger. It’s not right. Make a difference.