Sugiat the Shoeboy

13 years-old Sugiat’s home is in Demak district, to the east of Semarang in Central Java. Since dropping out of elementary school three years ago, Sugiat has been shining shoes at Kuman mosque. He goes home only once a week and sleeps at the mosque where he works. His aim is quite simple, he is trying to earn enough money to buy cattle.

Sugiat’s parents are small land farmers, growing corn, cassava and soya bean. At harvest time, children working in Semarang normally return home to help with the harvesting and plantig. However, Sugiat prefers to work and stay in Semarang. He is embarrassed that he has had to leave school because his parents cannot afford it, and he feels inferior to his friends in the village who remain at school.

Unlike some of the other children in the village, Sugiat does not have high ambitions for his future, his aim is to become a cattle tender. To achieve this, he prepared to work hard and face the harsh realities of life on the streets. At the present time he sees no alternative. (Winarso)

Sumber: Child Worker in Asia, Vol. 10, No. 1, January – March 1994 (halaman 4)


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