Life Updates and Advice From Kids in Indonesia During COVID-19

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Posted on 07/30/2020

Ardan, Ayra and Fara, three kids who live in Indonesia, wrote about how they’ve been coping with the “new normal” of COVID-19, including making facemasks and growing bean sprouts. They also shared some advice for the rest of us about how to cope and keep ourselves – and others – safe.

“Let us start taking care of ourselves first, then we will also protect many people around us.”
By Ardan, 15, of Central Java, Indonesia

Boy and father sit inside making facemasks in Indonesia.

Ardan and his dad make masks to help protect against COVID-19

Everything changed because of this pandemic. At first, my friends and I were happy about this pandemic because we thought we would have a long holiday from school and would have longer playing time. But the learning process just shifted from the classroom to home. Currently, I feel the struggle of learning at home because it is not organized as before. I can spend a day without learning because I am confused about what to study, and I want to sleep all the time. Now, to access learning material and explanation we must use the internet, but often the signal is not strong enough to help me study.

YKKS, which is ChildFund’s local partner in my community, held a competition to find new skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the requirements was to document it through photos. My father and I chose to make masks and my mother took our photo. Alhamdulillah, our photo was chosen as one of the best. For me, masks are very useful nowadays – everywhere we have to wear masks, so we will not get infected by someone's droplets when talking to us.

I realize that the coronavirus is very dangerous. It is frightening me because this virus can be deadly if we are infected. I always see updated information about COVID-19 on TV and the internet, and my parents also warn me to look after myself well, because by looking after ourselves, we can help protect the elders who have high-risk possibility to get an infection.

My message to all of you who read this: My friends, let us follow the government regulations, stay at home, always wear a mask when going out, and wash your hands frequently so that the virus disappears soon and we can go back to school. Let us start taking care of ourselves first, then we will also protect many people around us. I hope you are always in good health.

“Learning a New Life Skill During the Pandemic
By Ayra, 10, of East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Girl wearing facemask stands outdoors holding bottle filled with sprouts in Indonesia.

Ayra displays the bean sprouts she’s growing at home during quarantine.

My name is Ayra, and I’m 10 years old. When I heard the news about COVID-19 from teachers at school and the community in my neighborhood, I could feel the fear rise. I am worried that I might get infected by the virus. From what I heard, people who are affected by this virus will die. It scares me. The COVID-19 outbreak also caused our learning and playtime to become very limited. We usually study at school and can play anywhere, but when this COVID-19 outbreak appeared, learning activities at school stopped and our parents forbid us to play with friends. I feel grateful when I hear the information from the teacher and the community center that we can prevent the coronavirus by actively washing hands with soap in running water, eating healthy food to increase our body's immune system, reducing the gatherings with many people and if you leave the house you must wear a mask.

During the outbreak we continue to study, but instead of going to the school, we practice learning at home accompanied by parents. It makes us feel bored. During the learning process at my home, I experienced some obstacles, because my parents do not have an Android phone that I can use to access some subjects that I need to learn more. When I want to ask my parents, I also have problems because my parents do not fully understand the subject matter provided by the teacher.

Even though now I am bored because we only learn at home, I feel thrilled because I can participate in various distance group activities. One of the projects that we do is making bean sprouts from green beans. In the previous days, I had never had experience making bean sprouts, but during the COVID-19 situation, I am excited because LPMM KUPANG [ChildFund’s local partner] is still able to teach us real-life skills to make a bean sprout. And I also learned about science and mathematics and learned to observe the growth of the beans. Aside from the bean sprout, I also learned to grow vegetables in my yard, plant Lombok, eggplant, celery leaves, and grow lemongrass and flowers in the yard.

We also learned to make greeting cards and provide support to health and medical personnel in my neighborhood by giving positive messages to encourage them as the frontline members fighting the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the various programs together with my friends and the facilitators, I was encouraged to keep the spirit of learning even at home. My friends and I can form small groups while still paying attention to the advice of physical distancing from the government, so that learning at home becomes more enjoyable and challenging materials will be more easily solved. Studying at home now will still be fun because it is full of exciting real-life skill learning activities.

“Always Wear a Mask and Wash Your Hands”
By Fara, 13, of Central Java, Indonesia

Girl wearing facemask in Indonesia.

Fara wears one of the masks she made with her mom.

Hello friends, my name is Fara from Semarang City, Indonesia.

I found out about the coronavirus for the first time from my mother. After that, I saw on TV and read from a book given by YKKS [ChildFund’s local partner] about the coronavirus. Coronavirus is very small and looks like a crown, and it can be transmitted through the mouth and nose. If we are infected, we will feel symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing and fatigue.

To prevent the coronavirus, all activities are stopped temporarily including learning activities at school. Luckily, I have no exams at that moment. This year I graduated from elementary school. Previously I learned through an online method from 9-11 in the morning and was guided by teacher discussions through the WhatsApp group. For me, this learning method is not interesting because it is difficult to understand and access it. However, lately, it is no longer a problem because I have started applying to junior high. I hope I will be accepted in the junior high school that I want. Hopefully, this virus outbreak does not hamper or become an obstacle to junior high school registration.

While at home, I feel really bored. We cannot do activities outside the home as freely as before. I used to be happy because besides being able to go to school, I could practice dancing, and take the PKHLK (life skill and financial literacy) class. Now, every time I want to go out, I feel anxious, afraid of contracting it. To fill my free time, I help my mother make masks. I was taught by my mother how to make patterns, cut, and I can see my mom sewing using a sewing machine. If we make our own mask, we can adjust it as we want – for example, the shape of the string, the color of the fabric, the shape of the mask. I want to make some masks so I can change them every day, especially when I start school again. One of the masks that I made with my mother can be seen in the photo.

If conditions continue like this, then I want to start filling my free time with farming, so there will be more greenery in my house and lots of oxygen. However, I pray that this virus will soon disappear. I will feel very sad if many people die from this virus. I want me, my family, my friends, and everything to be in good health. My message to all my friends there: Always take care of your health, don't get infected, always wear a mask, and wash your hands. Thank you.