Sunday, May 24, 2015

Prima for Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security

Once upon a time, there was a girl who has big dreams. Raised by a mother who idolized Kofi Annan, her mother whispered to her that one day she will work for the United Nations.

Time goes by, and when she is 14 years old, she had a chance to join the World Scout Jamboree in Thailand. It was her first encounter with intercultural situation, and she was really excited. When she finally arrives, unfortunately, as a hijabi, she had to accept the reality that some scouts from Western countries rejected her from the group. With teary eyes, she tried convincing people that even though she is a muslim, she is not a terrorist. But she keeps moving forward, doing her assignments with total effort, until some days before the closing, she finally made friends with some British and Australian scouts.

That girl was me, and starting from that day, I know that it will be a serious challenge to create the world peace. If people keep seeing others with assumptions and stereotypes, how could they open themselves and communicate? It makes me grow and befriend with people from diverse backgrounds. I don't limit my friends: Islam, Christian, Chinese descent (which numbers are high in my hometown), as well as cross-ethnic groups (Indonesia consists of more than 300 ethnic groups).

While some people thinks that Islam and extremism are somehow cliché, I still think that young muslim should work hard on it. Showing that we are good team-member in the society, proving that Islam is a beautiful way of life, and bringing positive impact for our surrounding. It's not a burden, it's a need of ourselves.

I have working on this homework since I was in high school. Not only as a muslim, but as an Indonesian who try to build the security. When I was in the first grade of high school, I was confused as my seniors were proud to join the student fight. They think it's a manly thing, which I thought was incredibly stupid. Not only they fight other schools, but they also spread the fear to other students. There were some times we had to go home earlier, avoiding the student fight.

Lately I found out that the same thing happens to the football fans club in Indonesia. An Australian footballer who worked in Indonesia once said that football is considered as more important than the religion. The fans tend to fight other fans club. In the two cities that I have ever lived in, I experienced the times when the citizens can't go anywhere because the fans club doing the parade. If the football team wins, they express their happiness by destructing private properties. If the football team loses, they got mad and smashed public properties. It was so terrible.

In 2011, I write a research about how foreign football players adapt with Indonesian culture. At that time, I discussed with some fans club and encouraged them to find more 'elegant' ways to support the team. I used that opportunity to supervise a fans club consists of teenagers as it seems that they were easy to be influenced. I saw how they were persuaded to fight other fans clubs. Under my supervision – which were supported by their parents too – they strongly hold their principles, to ignore other' bad persuasion and instead of that, finding creative ways to support the football players.

Going back and forth looking for a way to spread the positive thoughts introduced me with blogging. Based on a research in 2012, 97,5% teenagers in some big cities in Indonesia have at least one social media account. It's definitely a good medium to motivate Indonesian youth to become the agent of change. When I was invited to be a speaker about 'Blogging for Social Responsibility', I emphasized that some of us have been so lucky to experience higher education, and also, are rich enough to buy gadget with good internet connection. Even if we can do nothing, it's time for us to give back to the society, by sharing hopes and positive ideas through social media. As we can see, most of the conversation on social media are rubbish, and it's a sad fact knowing that it actually can be substituted by wisdom, knowledge, and news.

My conclusion is – something that I have been experiencing myself, and as stated in the speech of the Crown Prince of Jordan on the meeting of UN' Security Council, April 2015 – youth has a lot of ambition, as well as the endless energy. If it is not used for positive acts such as making achievements at school or volunteering in the society; it will be used for spreading the fear, like student fight that I have mentioned above.

That's why, I am happy that I joined World Muslimah Award 2014, held by World Muslimah Foundation. I was proud to be a part of World Muslimah Foundation' effort in building cultural understanding, which was by gathering young women from diverse countries and background to share the experiences: our passion, our business, our achievements. We also have seen how the Foundation making real action in women empowerment, such as conducting skill training for housewives in a slum village in Jakarta, Indonesia. I had a chance to hear the story from one of the women: a single mother whose her high-school graduated son is hoping to go to college, and her daughter is studying in a boarding school. Since her husband died some years ago, she earned money by collecting used bottles and selling it to the collectors. She said that she had experiences in working for factory or shop, but as a woman she had to accept that even though her skill is good enough, she received lower salary than her male working partner. She also couldn't bear with sexual harassment and women objectification, such as wearing tight and sexy uniform. Lucky her, she didn't trapped into prostitution – which she knows that some of her friends do.

Based on the stories I hear at the award, I have a plan to establish my own foundation before I turn 35 years old. I would like to help the kids from broken home family – just like me – providing them advocacy and life skills. I can't be more grateful that even though my parents were divorced, they fully support me so that I can be what I am today. But I know that most of the children are not that lucky. They are confused, they don't have shoulders to cry on, they don't know what to do with their life. If the situation continuing, they can't optimize their role in the society.

It was one of the reason for me to go back to school as a Graduate Student majoring in Communication Science. I want to learn more about social marketing, especially how to communicate a social campaign. Besides studying, I am joining the training for peer counselor who will be officially volunteering in the next semester.

So, I may have been a rookie for the peace-building project, and I also aware that I might not have focused on one specific thing, just because I am interested in many issues. But as a young woman myself, I am sure that woman is the most important key to the world peace. A woman will become a mother, a role model for her children in the future – so it has to be started from a well-educated and caring girl. I hope I will have the chance to share my experiences along the way to build peace situation in my community in the Global Forum on Youth, Peace, and Security. I also would love to learn from other experienced people, especially to improve my plan, and help contributing to the World Muslimah Foundation' mission.

See you at the Global Forum on Youth, Peace, and Security!

Lots of love,

1 comment:

  1. I almost shed tears when i'm reading this.
    Pas di Paris, i feel you bgt.Aku diperiksa dengan sadis, beda deh dengan yg non hijab.

    Semoga nanti sblm umur 35 foundation kamu bisa terealisasi ya. Aamiin


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