"Go sister/brother, you can answer that question. Use your experience and knowledge from the FAD (Village Children Forum) activities. Just share what you know."
This is an excerpt from Adi's words when encouraging a child from the village children forum who was one of the speakers on Universal Children's Day celebrations held by ECLT's implementing partner JARAK in Indonesia.
Adi is a regional facilitator and one of his many roles is to motivate children in the local area to join after-school activities, keep away from dangerous work, and work hard at school to reach their full potential. Thanks to the active role he is playing to disseminate information on child labour, and mentor students, now Pak Adi feels like a fully integrated member of the communities where he works.
Working with cultural and religious leaders
It is undeniable that Pak Adi's work has an impact on religious leaders and the community. As a regional facilitator, he conveys what child labour is, the causes, and the consequences, and discusses potential approaches to tackle the problem with local leaders. The communication he builds is based on friendship which does not put his position or his knowledge higher than others.
Protecting children from child marriage
Pak Adi's work goes far beyond child labour in the fields, he is also working hard to protect children from other forms of harm, including child marriage. By engaging with families, village officials, and religious leaders, to confront outdated cultural practices, Adi also foiled two cases of child marriage in the villages where he works. He shared that he sometimes received some threats and violent responses from residents who don't want to separate the children who are going to be married. As more and more parents and caregivers learn about child rights thanks to the work of JARAK and the regional facilitators, community members are providing increasing support to the work done by Adi on child and early marriage.
A long road ahead
Many challenges are still being faced by Adi and child activists. Adi, a father, a child rights activist and a farmer, who has a deep understanding of the causes, and dangers that children face when working in the fields, is dedicated to continuing to protect children in rural Indonesia.
For him, protecting other children should also be done like raising his own children. He holds the concept of "Asah, Asih, Asuh" meaning "to sharpen the mind, to love and to take care" close to his heart and guide his work for child protection.
"Keep the spirit on! Keep fighting for children's rights!" - Pak Adi, Mulyadi Pandanwangi Village, December 22, 2021