Indonesia: New Training Openings to Empower Young People

Young people living in rural communities on Sulawesi have hardly any training opportunities at all. The Toraja and Minahasa Churches support young people on their vocational paths so that they can build a better future for themselves.

Arwin is the son of a Sulawesi farming family. After school, he works together with his parents as a day labourer in the fields in the wide valleys of the Toraja plateau. His greatest wish is to attend a secondary school one day. But his family is too poor to afford a good education for him.

People in the tiny scattered villages in Sulawesi usually live close to subsistence level. The small agricultural businesses just about ensure their survival but young people have no future. The Toraja Church (GT) and the Minahasa Church (GIMM) allow young people to train for a manual or technical profession at two training centres.

Industrial mechanics or information technology in Rantepao

The Toraja Church built the vocational training centre in Rantepao so that young adults like Arwin can have a professional perspective. Here young adults are trained in motorbike and industrial mechanics and in information technology. Young women who want to learn a traditionally male profession are encouraged and supported in their plans.

Training takes place on two levels. They undergo part of their training at the training centre in Rantepao and the other part in businesses located close to where the young people live. It is then easier for apprentices to find employment and it also strengthens the local labour market. This dual system has proven its worth since more and more well-trained workers are needed in rural areas. And those who decide to move away also have good chances on the labour market since, in the meantime, the quality of this vocational training has become well-known throughout the country.


255 million inhabitants with 20% youth unemployment

Carpentry apprenticeship in Tomohon

At the training centre of the Minahasa Church in Tomohon, young adults mainly work with coconut palm wood. The wood is very hard and in the past it was mainly used as firewood. Several years ago, a co-worker at the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity developed a technique which allows apprentices in Tomohon to make furniture and home furnishings from the hard coconut wood. Coconut palm wood can even be used to build houses. The vocational training centre of the Minahasa Church trains apprentices to work the wood with the greatest possible ecological sustainability. Young people learn that environmental protection and economic thinking are not mutually exclusive.

Project goals

Unemployment in Indonesia among young people between 15 and 24 years old is about 20 per cent. Much too high, say the Toraja Church (GT) and the Minahasa Church (GMIM). At their training centres they train young people in various professions for the labour market. This helps their young congregation members to look to the future with confidence and with the certainty that they will be able to stand on their own two feet financially.


Project work

Young women and men choose from a variety of professions at the training centres. Besides carpentry, there is a choice between software engineering, an apprenticeship as car mechanic or as welder. During their training, the young people also receive classes in general subjects such as mathematics, social studies and the Indonesian language. This gives them a good basis to find a job on the Indonesian labour market after they graduate.

Project partner

The Toraja Church (GT) is similar to a people’s church on a small scale. About 75 per cent of the population living in the Toraja mountains in South Sulawesi are Christian. The church is committed to vocational training and runs several schools and two large hospitals. The Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa (GMIM) is one of the largest and oldest churches in Indonesia and has 800,000 members. The GMIM represents a focus in the entire region with a Christian university, several hospitals and polyclinics, schools, children’s homes and village development programmes.


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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