Indonesia is a democratic country with around 267 million inhabitants. There are approximately 17,000 islands in Indonesia, but only about 6,000 of them are inhabited. More than 250 different dialects are spoken in over 30 major ethnic groups.
Although about 87% of the total population are Muslims, Islam is not the official state religion. In addition to Islam, four other religions are recognized in Indonesia: Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism. The constitution requires every citizen to belong to one of these religions. There is a Ministry of Religious Affairs to promote religious peace among the different religious groups.
Standing up for peace and justice
Since the fall of the dictator Suharto in 1998, the young generation has been taking advantage of the opportunities offered by democracy. Young people are organising themselves into networks to denounce and combat problems such as poverty, corruption and human rights violations by the military and the police. Nevertheless, the country still suffers from widespread poverty as well as other social problems such as early marriage, structural violence and gender inequity.
Mission 21's projects in Indonesia focus on interfaith peace promotion, education and income promotion. Special attention is accorded to the advancement of women and efforts to overcome gender-specific violence.
Interfaith peace work
After the violent conflict between population groups of Indonesian and Chinese origin in 1998, other conflicts of a similar nature have erupted in Indonesia. The issues involved are access to resources and the distribution of power in the country. Religious and ethnic minorities are the main victims and losers. To promote life in peace, Mission 21 and its partner organisations support forums for interfaith dialogue and cooperation between members of different religious groups.
Education for everyone
The cost of education is too high for many people in Indonesia. As a result, there are many children and young people who do not attend secondary schools or universities due to financial reasons. However, it is very important for children and young people to complete higher education so that they will have opportunities on the labour market in the future. Mission 21 awards scholarships to assist disadvantaged children and young people from remote regions.
Income promotion for women
Apart from subsistence farming, women often have no source of income of their own. Especially in Kalimantan-Borneo, Mission 21 encourages women to improve their financial circumstances and secure their livelihood. The women learn how to develop and manufacture marketable products. They are given start-up support so that they can find appropriate trade organizations and business relationships. The women earn additional income from selling their goods, enabling their children to attend school. The women also gain more independence and self-confidence.
Justice for women
Violence against women is not uncommon in Indonesia. Its causes include attitudes that have evolved from the culture, patriarchal structures and women's very low levels of education as compared to men. Mission 21 assists women affected by violence and their families by providing support and advice. The projects run by Mission 21 and its partners in Indonesia include a variety of measures to promote equal rights for women and men. These projects give people better opportunities for the future so that they can lead their lives in dignity.
Professional support from Mission 21
Mission 21 collaborates closely with its partners, guaranteeing that they receive professional support. Mission 21's various partners in Indonesia are in close contact with one another. Through the ecumenical network, many synergies are utilised across national borders to steadily enhance the impact of their joint work.