Banda Aceh is the capital of the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra. Around 250,000 people live in this city, which was one of the hardest hit during the 2004 tsunami. In fact, an estimated 60,000 people died as a result of the natural disaster in Banda Aceh.Although the city has been rebuilt, people in the region still face widespread poverty caused by the tsunami. Children are particularly affected by these difficult living conditions.In addition, girls suffer from the widespread practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Indonesia.
Since 2007, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Banda Aceh.
Although Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, there is growing inequality between rural and urban populations and between the different islands, which are divided into provinces. This can be seen in Aceh, where Banda Aceh is located. Here, 15% of the people live below the poverty line. This can be partly linked to the 2004 tsunami, which claimed the lives of 170,000 Indonesians and caused 150,000 children in Aceh to lose their parental care. These children are most endangered by human trafficking or forced labour.
Although the city has been rebuilt and infrastructure restored, people are still struggling with the economic and psychological consequences of the tsunami.
Female genital mutilation (FGM), according to the World Health Organization, refers to “all procedures involving partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.” This practice is still widespread in Indonesia, where 49% of girls aged 0 to 14 years old have undergone FGM. In Aceh specifically, between 51% and 80% of girls have undergone this procedure. FGM can lead to immediate health risks, as well as a variety of long-term complications affecting women’s physical, mental and sexual health and well-being throughout the course of life.