Primary school children in Arso on the Indonesia-PNG border are keen to study – but teachers rarely come to the local school. The one teacher who does come is only on a short-term contract and gets paid once every six months. When school is out, the kids end up doing hard labour for the local palm plantation to earn money and kill time.
About Papuan Voices
Many of us know that West Papua is fighting for independence – but what else goes on there? How often do we hear directly from the Papuans themselves about life in Indonesia’s most secretive province?
EngageMedia’s Papuan Voices project is a combination of empowerment and production. We collaborate with Catholic Church groups in Jayapura and Merauke to teach Papuan activists new video production and distribution skills so that they have the means to tell their own stories to the world.
Importantly, the stories we tell are not only framed around West Papua’s political struggle for independence. Why is this important? Because when a Papuan man punches an Indonesian soldier because the soldier has assaulted his sister, more often than not that man will be branded a “separatist” by the press and Indonesian authorities. The soldier will walk free while the Papuan will be charged with serious offences against the state.
These kinds of injustices occur daily in Papua and a lack of understanding about the issues affecting Indonesia’s poorest citizens works to entrench the problem.
The Papuan Voices project overcomes political, geographical and financial barriers – as well as lack of technology – to bring important Papuan stories to the world. In doing so, it shines light on the injustices that regularly occur behind the closed doors of this resource-rich and restive province.
Project partners: Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), MSC (Jakarta) and the Secretariat for Justice and Peace (SKP KC Jayapura).