Medan is the capital of the province of North Sumatra, located in the west of Indonesia. Around 2.5 million people live in the city, which is famous for its production of tobacco, palm oil, and tea. Also the manufacturing of automobiles has made this city a center of growth in the province.But not everyone benefits from the economic advantages, and many people struggle under difficult living conditions. Children in particular suffer from widespread malnutrition and poverty in the province.
Since 2005, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Medan.
Although Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, inequality grows between rural and urban populations, and between the different islands, divided in provinces.
This can be noticed in North Sumatra, where Medan is located. 9% of people live in poverty, and more specifically for children, 7% live below the poverty line. This can be partly linked to the 2004 tsunami, which left an estimated 150,000 children without parental care in North Sumatra.
Furthermore, many victims from the tsunami fled to Medan to start their lives anew.
Indonesia ranks fifth highest for stunting and fourth for wasting in the world, for children below five years old. Indeed, in Indonesia, 10% of children suffer from wasting (low weight for height) and 30% of children suffer from stunting (low height for age).
Specifically in North Sumatra, where Medan is located, between 25% and 30% of children suffer from stunting, which is a result from undernutrition. Stunting can have lasting effects on the children’s health.
A balanced nutrition and also better hygienic conditions could help prevent malnutrition.