An image of Indonesia Where Indonesia is in the world.

Indonesia has more than 18,000 islands, of which only 6,000 have people living on them. It has wildlife of many kinds with huge areas of tropical forest.

It is over the equator* and sits between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

*The equator is an imaginary line that circles the Earth, dividing it into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

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Compassion's work in Indonesia began in 1968.


Here's some basic Indonesian:

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Selamat pagi
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Terima kasih

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Komodo dragon

Komodo dragons are the biggest lizards in the world. The largest recorded was 3.1 metres long.

Many traditional houses in Indonesia are built on stilts to prevent them from getting wet as so many people live near the water’s edge.

Living conditions

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251 million

Currently there are more than 106,400 children attending Compassion programmes in Indonesia.

Indonesia has struggled with natural disasters, corrupt leaders and terrorism.

The country was hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, which killed more than 220,000 people. The tsunami left many more thousands of people without homes or jobs. Whole communities lost their roads, schools, shops and water supplies – everything was wiped out.

When a disaster happens we see endless stories and interviews on TV. But fifteen years on, the film crews and news reporters have left but many of the problems caused by the disaster are still there.

When a natural disaster hits a country, it’s often the poorest people who suffer the most.

Take a look at our photo story about Gunawan’s family.

Indonesia has over 17,000 islands with people living on only a third of these.

These islands have an amazing array of animals, with 35 per cent of them only found in Indonesia.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populated country with 251 million citizens. Lots of people live in poverty, with over 20 per cent of Indonesians living on less than 90p a day.

The poor people of Semarang have found the cheapest way to survive is to live in graveyards.

Home for Suarsiem and her husband, daughter and son, is a small one-room hut in a graveyard community.

As the only one in the family that works, Suarsiem’s position as a shop assistant in a local bakeshop gives her a salary of £30 a month to support the whole family.

Suarsiem’s seven-year-old son, Gunawan, is used to playing amongst the graves. He and his best friend have grown up in the graveyard community.

Even though the family are Muslims, Suarsiem enrolled Gunawan in a Compassion-assisted project in a local church.

"I’m so thankful for the church. The project staff truly care for us with almost everything: physical, spiritual and material. They also care about our struggles."

Churches in Indonesia demonstrate God’s love for the poor.

As Compassion partners with these churches, Indonesian children living in poverty are given the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God has created them to be.

Pray for children in Compassion projects to know how loved they are by God.

Pray for the people of Indonesia to be free of poverty.

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Indonesians also use the word ‘perak’ (meaning silver) for the rupiah.

There are 557 Compassion child development centres across Indonesia.

How can you encourage your sponsored child?

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Why not write to them and mention some of the facts you’ve found here. Ask them questions about what it’s like to live in Indonesia.

Indonesians eat rice, vegetables and fruit. Fish and meat are used as a flavouring, instead of as a main dish. As a sweet treat, try making some Halua Kenari fudge.

Recipe: Halua Kenari fudge

Halua Kenari fudge Ingredients (adult help needed)

Makes 20 pieces

  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • ½ cup of blanched almonds, toasted lightly
  1. In a frying pan, melt the sugar in the water over low heat. Add the almonds and mix together quickly.
  2. Remove the frying pan from heat and drop teaspoonfuls of the fudge onto an ungreased tray.
  3. Let the fudge cool before eating and store in a container with a tight cover.


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Indonesia is home to the smallest fish in the world. It’s just 7.9 mm long and lives in the muddy swamps of Sumatra.

What is brown and goes around and around in circles?

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A Komodo Dragon stuck in a revolving door.

Information sources: The CIA World Fact Book 2011, Compassion International, Human Development Report, BBC, BBC Nature, Wikipedia