Cipelem Villagers Shackled by Extreme Poverty

Seventy percent of the people of Cipelem Village, Brebes Regency, are impoverished. Even though the village has a promising agricultural potential, most of the villagers are farm laborers, not land owners.

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Tarlem sits at his front door. The front wall is marked with a writing that says he is eligible to receive aid for the poor. (ACTNews/M. Ubaidillah)

ACTNews, BREBES – When ACTNews visited Cipelem Village, Bulakamba District, Brebes Regency, at first glance, there is nothing about the village that makes it distinct from other villages. The roads are paved albeit some parts of the roads are full of holes. The residents live in permanent buildings, and the sight of lush rice fields brings serenity to anyone passing through the roads.

Sadly, behind the lush fields, there is a bitter fact: the residents are living in poverty, and the rice fields are owned only by a small group of people while the majority of the residents are farm laborers without a steady job.

Tarlem, one of the residents in Cipelem Village, said he is paid only IDR 50,000 a day, but his wage will be cut if he receives a lunch.

“If we get a lunch, we will only receive IDR 40,000. The owners of the rice fields only employ strong farmers. Old and weak farmers like me rarely get employed,” he said, Thursday (10/14/2021).

Tarlem’s 6-by-7-meter house has no floor. For electricity bill and daily meals, he depends on his children and relatives. Every day, he draws water from a nearby water well for his daily needs.

Dulatif, head of RT 03 RW 07 Cipelem village, confirmed that most of the locals are farm laborers. Only a few of them are land owners and merchants, and none of the residents works in a factory or private company.