To help improve coverage and ensure that all children in Indonesia realize their right to birth registration, individuals can be agents of change. Birth registration champions are putting tremendous efforts to ensure every child in the country is registered. Meet Ibu Sucriah and Jasmine, two of these champions who have contributed to give legal identity to ‘invisible’ children.
Ibu Sucriah: A Devoted Teacher Helping Students to Get Registered
Ibu Sucriah has been a teacher since 1978 and a school principal since 2013. As headmaster of primary school (SD 68) in Lamugugob, Banda Aceh, she met 8-year old Ramadatul Akmal or Rama when accompanied by his parents they passed by the school hoping they would accept him and register him for 1st grade.
They had been rejected by other schools previously for not having any of the required documents. Ibu Sucriah accepted Rama on the condition that they start the process to obtain all the necessary documents.
“I didn’t go to school and I realized that if Rama didn’t go, he would turn out like me and only become a construction worker. I dream that all my children will do better than I’ve done,” says Rama’s father.
Rama was considered an “informal student” as he could not be integrated into the national education system without a birth certificate and his parents did not know how to get one.
Luckily, Ibu Sucriah was able to help this family. With the support of UNICEF and its implementing partner Pusat Kajian Pendidikan dan Masyarakat (PKPM) she was invited to the launch of the online birth registration system by the Civil Registration Office in Banda Aceh. During the event, she spoke to the Head of Civil Registration Office and PKPM and shared Rama’s story. After coordinating with multiple Civil Registration office, finally, after 2 years Rama’s birth certificate was issued and he could graduate 1st grade.
“A birth certificate is a treasure. It is connected to someone’s identify and only with one you can reach your dreams and potential. It allows you to be the best you can be and I will fight till the end to ensure that all my students have one,” states Ibu Sucriah proudly.
Jasmine: A Mother Battling to Register Her Paraplegic Daughter
Jasmine runs a small tailoring business in her home. She strives to provide a warm and loving home for her children. However, “life as a mother with a disability can often challenging,” says Jasmine.
It has not been easy for her to access birth registration services. In Indonesia, the barriers to registration are often distance, costs and not understanding the process to obtain one, and these are especially challenging for Jasmine given her limited mobility.
UNICEF, in partnership with Makassar-based NGOs and the Civil Registration Office in Makassar, has undertaken a pilot project to help disadvantaged children acquire birth certificates.
To steer the effort, UNICEF partner Bursa Pengetahuan Kawasan Timu Indonesia (BaKTI) has trained local NGOs on community outreach strategies to help families compile the necessary documentation. In Jasmine’s case, UNICEF and BaKTI collaborated with NGO Himpunan Wanita Disabilitas Indonesia (HWDI) and succeeded in obtaining a birth certificate for Nur, ensuring she can enter primary school in a few years and have access to social protection and health services.
Jasmine is overjoyed that her daughter now has her legal identity and knows will be able to improve her chances in life by attending school, something she was not able to before being registered.