“I teach the children of [migrant workers] to learn to be confident, interviews, speeches, poetry, singing and dancing. Those are my teachings so far.”
Armiati Bata, one of the children in Wee Limbu Village, Wewewa District, Southwest Sumba grew up without figure of father and mother. Since the second grade of elementary school (SD), her mother went to work to Malaysia. A month after her mother’s departure, his father fell ill and died. Hearing the news of the death of her husband, Armiati’s mother fell while working and suffered a concussion. Her mother’s boss then banned any communication for her and to date, Armiati has never heard any news about her mother. Armiati’s story is one of the portraits of many children of migrant workers in Southwest Sumba.
It was Agustina Lingü Lango (45) who witnessed violence experienced by the children of migrant workers (APM). “Most children are left behind by their mother and father, to their grandfather, grandmother, aunt while their parents work abroad,” Agustina said. According to her, the children of migrant workers often get violence or pressure from their “new family” starting from rough curses and even beatings. This makes children tend to be afraid to meet or talk with other people. They find it difficult to study because their time is spent working in the field, taking wood, and taking care of livestock. Learning achievement at school also tends to decline.
Not only that, other problems were also experienced by the children of migrant workers APM. The parents of some of these children do not have a clear marital status, they have not been recognized customarily because they have not paid the for the wedding dowry (belis) for the bride. This parental status makes children’s status unclear. Their parents may not have family card, even though the existence of a family card is a prerequisite for obtaining a birth certificate, also Smart Indonesia Card and Healthy Indonesia Card which are needed to access their right to education and proper health.
This situation makes Agustina concerned. She then took the time to visit the children at their home, just to chat and entertain them. This concern led her to meet with YPK Donders when the institute conducted a quick study of the situation of children of migrant workers in June 2015. Together with four other cadres, Agustina received training on children’s rights, proper parenting, leadership, and organization. They also collect data and facilitate population data.
“Mereka selama ini memang belum mendapatkan pelayanan. Kami para kader berupaya memenuhi hak-hak mereka,” ujar Agustina.
“They have not received service. We, cadres are trying to fulfill their rights,” Agustina said.
“Star of Change” is the name for Agustina and other cadres who come and invite of all parties to discuss to work together and care for the fate of the children of migrant workers. The parties working together include foster parents, traditional and community leaders, as well as village government officials. The cooperation of various parties produces result. A total of 80 Family Cards, 100 Birth Certificates, 10 Healthy Indonesia Cards, and Smart Indonesia Cards submitted by the cadres were finally issued.
The multistakeholder meeting also gave birth to a joint idea to provide facilities for meeting and learning for the children of migrant workers whom they called Umma Pande. Umma means house and Pande means clever or smart. The house built with mutual assistance from contributions of the community is shaped like a traditional Sumba house.
Umma Pande has become a safe and comfortable space for children. “I teach the children of [migrant workers] to learn confidence, interviews, speeches, poetry, singing and dancing. That is my teachings so far,” Agustina said.
Now, every 3 to 5 pm, Umma Pande is always busy with the jokes and laughter of children, including Armiati.
Not stopping there, Umma Pande also triggered the birth of the idea to establish an early childhood education and development (PAUD) facility in April 2018 in response to the condition of many children aged 2 to 4 years who were not ready for learning.
Agustina Lingu Lango’s progress made her chosen as one of thousands of Pandu Inklusi Nusantara (PINTAR), organic cadres who were actually present and needed to answer problems in society when the state neglected its citizens from marginal groups that are sometimes forgotten. As the name suggests, the stars of change, may the children of migrant workers get bright lights from the stars to continue to knit the future.
Agustina is one of the organic cadres of Program Peduli called Pandu Inklusi Nusantara (PINTAR). In November 2018, Agustina received an appreciation from Program Peduli at the PINTAR Appreciation Night event in Yogyakarta.