On a rainy Jakarta afternoon Mohammad* and Ahmad* (*not their real names), who are asylum-seeking teens from Darfur, Sudan, are sitting on the balcony of their CWS-hosted group home passing the time by drawing in their sketch books. Ahmad is a very talented sketch artist and he is teaching Mohammad. They both have lived in Indonesia for more than a year, having escaped violence in their home country.
“I was born in a huge refugee camp,” Ahmad remembers, “and when I first arrived in Indonesia I was homeless. With no money and nowhere to go, I ended up camping out in front of a United Nations office. I am lucky that [because I am a minor child here on my own] CWS staff could bring me to this group home, where I now have a place to live, learn and play.”
CWS manages five group homes that host almost 200 unaccompanied and separated asylum-seeking and refugee children with financial support from the UNHCR, the US Department of State and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. The children are mostly teenagers from Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia, and they have shelter and protection thanks to CWS and its donors. In addition to basic care, the children also have some opportunities to learn Indonesian, English and computer skills, to have recreational activities and, as with Ahmad and Mohammad, to teach and learn from each other … and pass the time as they await others’ decisions about their futures.
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