Indonesia: Education Opportunities for Children from Rural Communities

In Indonesia's remote rural regions, children have fewer education opportunities than in cities. Village schools often lack teachers or the right equipment. The Protestant Church in South East Sulawesi is creating new prospects by starting a boarding school.

Most of the area served by the Protestant Church in South Sulawesi (GEPSULTRA) is rural. 80% of its congregation are farmers. They mainly support themselves and their families by growing rice. To augment their meagre income, some of them additionally grow vegetables or raise poultry; others also rear pigs or cattle. Those who own no land work as carpenters or are paid low wages to work in the fields of other farmers. 

Education for a better future 

There are very limited education opportunities in rural areas. Christian education also suffers. In some cases, the pastor of the community works as a religious education teacher on a voluntary basis. Usually there is only a primary school and possibly a secondary school but they are generally poorly equipped and have too few teachers. Secondary schools are mostly very far away and difficult to reach for many pupils. Some young people therefore move to the city but there they have to work late into the night to pay for school.


255 million inhabitants with a youth unemployment rate of 20%

Investment in the future of children and rural communities

Starting in 2023, GEPSULTRA intends to increase opportunities for young people living in remote rural areas with a well-equipped boarding school in the provincial capital of Kendari. There, pupils can attend the "Ecumenical School" and receive a good, competitive education from qualified teaching staff. Great importance is also attached to education in the Christian faith. The young adults live and reside together in the boarding school and are also looked after outside school hours. They do not have to work for a living and can fully concentrate on studying in the protected space of the school. The teachers attach great importance to the young adults maintaining contact with their home communities and to passing on what they have learned as well as the Christian faith.

Project Goals

At the GEPSULTRA boarding school, children from rural regions can continue their school education up to secondary school and then go on to university. They receive an academic and Christian education and can motivate other young adults in the remote regions. They also empower their families and raise the level of education in church congregations. As a generation of convinced Christians, they spread their faith through merit and good deeds.

Project Work

The GEPSULTRA project will be introduced to villages that belong to the project's target groups. A selection is made by holding educational talks about conditions for school attendance and conducting interviews with parents and children. Starting in 2024, about 30 children will be admitted each year. In 2023, the number of children will still be limited to 20 since construction work must first be completed on the infrastructure and basic facilities. Existing buildings will be renovated and equipment for school lessons and dormitories will be purchased.


Project Partner

The Protestant Church in South East Sulawesi (GEPSULTRA) was founded in 1957 but its history originates from the work of Dutch missionaries. As before, it is a minority church with about 65,000 members located in a predominantly Muslim region. The EMS mainly supports GEPSULTRA’s agricultural development programmes which help raise the living standards of mainly poor families.

We are pleased to hear that you are interested in this project. If you have any general questions, please use the contact form below. We are also happy to help you personally if you have any questions or require further information – by phone or by E-mail.


Djoko P. A. Wibowo

Liaison Secretary Indonesia

+49 711 636 78 -36

Angelika Jung

Head of Unit Fundraising

+49 711 636 78 -63

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