Peace Is Our Future; Get Us Involved!
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- Edad 24
I am an energetic twenty-one year old girl from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. I am now living in a boarding house managed by a local NGO, Sanggar Anak Akar, which provides free education for underprivileged children and young people like me. Before living in this boarding school, I lived in the slums area of Jakarta that are vulnerable to disasters like flooding.
Love reading. Hate fighting.
The boarding schools is for poor urban children, and I get access to a free library that enables me to read books because I love reading. My favourite books are those who are written by Pramoedya Ananta Toer. He was a very well-known Indonesian author of novels, short stories, and essays that talk about histories and justice. Through his books, I understand more about the history of Indonesia including the worse era before the independence of my nation. Since I love reading and writing as well, I encourage around 40 children living in my community to learn how to read and write stories.
Ever since I joined this local organization, I got also a chance to make videos and graphic design. I love being around people who are willing to share knowledge, skills, and happiness. Instead of being in a place where people fight and oppress each other. I think no one will ever be happy living in an environment where fighting is around. Therefore I can feel how miserable the conditions are of my sisters and brothers who live in the conflict areas in Indonesia and those living in countries at war.
Mobilising a youth response to slum floods
My country, which is comprised of around 17.000 islands and around 250 million people is vulnerable to many kinds of disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, and global warming. I am personally very used to the flooding since I live on the edge of the river. The worst flooding I have experienced was in by 2013. The slum area where I was living and doing the service to teach children, was drowned by a big flood, around 2 metres high, affecting the people from the poor community living there.
I was really scared but I refused to only rescue myself from this disaster. I decided to take action. I was working with Sanggar Anak Akar to respond to the disasters, mobilizing young people in the community to be the frontline responders. We created boats made from bamboo to rescue those who were stuck in their houses. Some people, children and women, were moved to the small shelter that we created for them. Those living on the second floor of their houses preferred to stay inside.
Since the number of volunteers and recourses that we had was really limited, I started to mobilize funding and volunteers through social media that I am familiar with. We collected the data of the victims and the pictures from the flooded area and uploaded it to social media. I was surprised how many people contacted us to support us in terms of giving donation like food, blankets, clothes, medicines, in additional to resources provided by Plan International. People even joined us as the volunteers. We distributed the donations, and since we had more donations, we were also able to help other flood victims in other shelters where the survivors live, such as those who stay in open spaces under highways. Every single day, for the purpose of accountability, we were reporting on social media what we had done and where the donations were given.
From my experiences in disasters, I think children and female young people are at risk in terms of protection. For those survivors who were staying in an open space shelter under the bridge, they were all sleeping and doing activities in the same place with adults which put children and women at risk of abuse. Our learning also stopped because it was difficult to access our school during the flood. Therefore, I was also creating a program in the shelter for children to learn and play. I was one of the youth facilitators. I was really enjoyed doing that because young people like me is a member of a community, so we also have the responsibility to be part of rebuilding our community whenever disasters hit us.
Calling world leaders!
World leaders, humanitarian workers, and young people from around the world have met for the World Humanitarian Summit. I am more than just proud of myself that I am one of them. I have many things in my mind that I really want to see in the first humanitarian summit.
I want to hear world leaders recognize young people involvement in any kind of disasters and conflict. I am sure there will be lots of young people with inspiring stories in humanitarian work and I want to be one of them. I want to tell to the world that disasters and conflict is the reality that many people are facing around the world; in developed or developing countries, in capital city or in the rural areas.
I want to tell the world that young people are capable to take a part in preparing and responding disasters. We are able to mobilize resources and efforts even faster through our skills in technology.
We are the generation that will rebuilt the community in innovative way. We are the best NGOs and government’s partners in modelling the humanitarian response in accountable manner through updating the public on what we are doing in the ground.
I call for the world leaders to really recognize young people like me. Young people who are making effort for the community.
I want world leaders to stop debating who’s wrong and right while the children and community are dying in the conflict areas. I world leaders to be willing to partnering with young people in communities during disaster prevention and response.
Support us to advance our capacity. Peace is our future. Get us involved for our own future.
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