Mandalika Child Learning Center (MCLC) and Its Positive Impact on Children's Rights in The Mandalika Area

The Mandalika Urban and Tourism Development Project is a large-scale tourism infrastructure development project covering an area of 1,175 hectares, known as the second Bali. It is located in the southern part of Lombok Island, featuring a dazzling 16 km stretch of white sandy coastline. This project is designed with an ecotourism concept, integrating clean energy from solar power, desalination plants, and maintaining over 50% of the area as green open space. This approach not only preserves and protects the natural beauty of Mandalika's landscape but also enhances the lives and culture of the local community.¹  

The Mandalika International Street Circuit is the icon of Mandalika, heavily marketed as the main tourist attraction for the island. The circuit hosts several annual international events, such as MotoGP races, the World Superbike Championship (WSBK), L'Etape by Tour De France, the Paragliding Accuracy World Cup (PGAWC), and others. However, the extensive tourism infrastructure development and numerous famous international events have left socio-economic issues for the local people and communities in the Mandalika area. From the beginning, the Mandalika project has been highlighted by various international media concerning its impact and issues related to human rights, children's rights, socio-economics, and environmental effects.² 

Five years after the inception of the Mandalika project, Gugah Nurani Indonesia, an organization focusing on child rights issues, highlighted significant concerns regarding children's rights in the Mandalika area. One prominent issue is the increasing number of child street vendors, aged 8-15, in the tourist region. According to ITDC data from 2018, there were about 50 child street vendors. However, a field assessment by Gugah Nurani Indonesia Lombok in 2023 found that this number had risen to over 300 children. This is a critical issue as these children are vulnerable to human trafficking, sexual abuse, pedophilia, and early marriage.

In early 2023, ITDC proposed a collaboration with Gugah Nurani Indonesia Lombok Mertak CDP to design and implement a project focused on fulfilling children's rights in the tourism area, aiming to contribute to making Mandalika a child-friendly tourist destination in Indonesia.

From August 2023 to September 2023, CDP Mertak Lombok conducted an assessment to gain insights into child rights issues in the Mandalika area. This activity was carried out in cooperation with Relawan Sahabat Anak, a local community group focusing on the fulfillment and violation of child rights, comprising academics and practitioners specializing in child issues.³ 
The assessment activities were conducted using methods such as interviews, observation, questionnaires, and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). The assessment subjects comprised: 100 child street vendors, 50 adult street vendors, 35 parents of child street vendors, 15 business owners in Mandalika, 6 Village Governments, 6 NGOs and local communities, and 3 Government agencies in Central Lombok Regency.

Here are the data based on assessment result regarding children’s background :
  1. 90% of the child street vendors come from Rembitan Village, which is about 10 km away from the Mandalika area. They travel to Mandalika by motorbike. They come with friends, parents (who are also street vendors), or are brought by their parents to tourist spots.
  2. Most of them are aged between 8-12 years old (elementary school level). They come to Mandalika after school hours until around 6 pm. Many of them stay until late at night, around 2 am, because they sell at bars. They rarely go to public school because they stay up late in Mandalika, especially if there are events there, they skip school.
  3. 50% of the children come from families that have been divorced and live with their grandparents, aunts, or uncles. Some of them don't even know where their parents are because both their mother and father have remarried or gone to Malaysia or Saudi Arabia as domestic workers.
  4. The children come from families where parents (family members) work as farmers, street vendors, traditional weavers, or souvenir makers to sell to tourists (bracelets, keychains, etc.). Additionally, we found some children who stated that their parents are not working, so they have to work for the family.

Assessment to children street vendor                                                                                      Assessment to parents (adult street vendor)  

The phenomenon of child street vendors in the Mandalika area has been an unresolved issue for years, despite being clearly visible before our eyes. Several local NGOs, communities, and even the Central Lombok District Government and the West Nusa Tenggara Provincial Government have conducted various activities, but they have been limited to providing education to children and parents in the Mandalika area. There has been no sustainable service provided, while the number of child street vendors continues to increase every year following the rapid development of tourism in Mandalika.

What is Mandalika Child Learning Center (MCLC)? 


Our sign board in English and Indonesia Language

The Mandalika Child Learning Center (MCLC) is initiated by Gugah Nurani Indonesia and ITDC Lombok in collaboration with local partners (NGOs, communities, education centers, schools, practitioners, private companies, etc.) The program was started in early October 2023, and will be in collaboration with ITDC Lombok for 3 years.

The main objectives of establishing this learning center are:
  1. To provide a free safe place for Children street vendors to learn and play, so that even though they are working they still have a safe place to stop by.
  2. To provide an information Center and Public Service Complaints regarding violations of children's rights in The Mandalika area (tourism spots).
  3. To provide a place where all communities, institutions, governments, individual, even private company can contribute to give regular services to fulfill and protect the rights of the children street vendors, since those children are the responsibility of all of us.

Our activities are:
1. Providing mini library for children and educational indoor toys, thus children can stop by anytime to play in educative way.

2. Providing various life skill classes, they are: Eco Literacy Class, Literacy and Numeracy Class, Foreign language learning (English, French, Spanish, etc.), Art, Music, Craft Class, Tourism and Hospitality Class, Child Protection Education, Parenting Class for Adult, and Health and Reproduction Class.

3. Once in a month, providing small event, thus children are able to perform based on their skill and aptitude.

4. Providing information center regarding child’s rights and protection.
The Mandalika Child Learning Center (MCLC) is the golden kick start in child’s right protection and fulfillment in tourism sector, since It is the first regular services given to children in tourism area, which the activities encompass cross cutting issues for rising awareness in child protection, education, health, environment, and advocacy. 

Since it is open for regular services, there are 20-50 children street vendors stop by and joined our classes. In the future, we hope more people, communities, private sectors, and Government Institutions will support the activities, thus we are able to cover more children with better facilities and services till one day we can send them back to school, thus none of children working in tourism area. We hope there will be scholarship for those children, thus they can get their right in education.

Thank you letter from children


Edited by: FD Team

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