For students at the Jakarta International School, especially those who joined the Global Issue Network in Indonesia (GINDO) club, aside from doing little things in their everyday life, they also committed to spread the message of change to their peers through an international conference held last week at their school in Jakarta.
The fourth Annual EARCOS Global Issues Network Conference held from April 8 to 10 at the JIS campus in Cilandak, South Jakarta, was attended by 400 students from 42 schools across Asia, including five international schools in Indonesia.
The event organized by JIS students aimed at empowering youth ages 14 to 18 of any race and any background so that everyone can contribute to combating global issues like poverty, the environment and many others.
The conference days were filled with various workshops and presentations by NGOs and keynote speakers, mostly teenagers. The speakers included Alec Loorz, 16, the leader of Kids vs. Global Warming — a non-profit organization that is committed to creating opportunities for youth to learn about science and climate change solutions.
Another keynote speaker at the conference was Rob Burroughs, 19, a second year student at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada and the international regional coordinator for the grassroots soccer foundation Inspi(RED) soccer, a movement to mobilize people to raise money and seek solutions for people living with AIDS.
Sheena Matheiken, founder of the Uniform Project that raises funds to help underprivileged children receive education through fashion, also attended the event as a keynote speaker.
Other speakers were Zachary Bonnier, 13, who started the Little Red Wagon Foundation to aid 1.3 million homeless children in the United States at the age of seven, and Maricel Macecar, 41, from Gerakan Kepedulian Indonesia, which focuses on rebuilding communities.
All the keynote speakers encouraged the youth in the audience that they too can make a difference through simple steps and small actions.
Pricilla said the most important thing was that one has to start out small and stay in one place so he or she can build relationships with people in that place.
“Once you start to do that you will start to care and it becomes less of an obligation, it will become more of something that you want to do just because you love it,” said the girl who is involved in community service in the Situ Gintung dam burst area and at a school in Rawamangun, East Jakarta.
Prithika Praba Madhavan, who has attended GIN international conferences since the inaugural event at the Western Academy in Beijing in 2008, and who also acted as the conference ambassador for this year’s event, said, “one of the main points that I actually took back from GIN was that you can give back to society but you don’t always have to go to an orphanage and do the basic service thing. You can give back through your passion.”
As her passion was fashion she decided to start a service club at her school called Fashion Rationale, which hold clothes drives at the start of the year.
Through the movement, she and her fellows collected old clothes from people at her school and redesigned them. “We do patchwork, we just make them into almost new garments completely and our fashion show is just coming up and there is going to be an auction.”
Show the way: Minister of Education Muhammad Nuh (center) speaks with Jakarta International School’s Head of School Tim Carr (left) as JIS Board of Patrons Chair Jed Beckstead (right) looks on as the Minister arrives for the opening ceremony of the conference on Friday, April 8, 2011. Courtesy of JISShow the way: Minister of Education Muhammad Nuh (center) speaks with Jakarta International School’s Head of School Tim Carr (left) as JIS Board of Patrons Chair Jed Beckstead (right) looks on as the Minister arrives for the opening ceremony of the conference on Friday, April 8, 2011. Courtesy of JIS
All the proceeds from the auction will be given to the Indonesian Downs Syndrome Society (ISDI).
Prithika said the most important thing for youth was to do something that they enjoy, because when they enjoy will not seem like service, it will just be part of their passion and they become so much more involved and the desire to go back and keep doing it is always there.
Another student ambassador from JIS, Jacqueline Beech, said everything that was happening in this world seemed so important that sometimes people forget that even little things could make a difference.
“For people like us who are busy with schools and other obligations, we need to do something small that we can sustain, because if you try to do something that is way too big, chances are you will do it once and then you will not want to put in that amount of time and work to do it again,” she said.
“But if you have something small, you can have it to keep going and ask people to help you out and develop it and that way it becomes really sustainable. When it is sustainable then it will make a difference”.
Deisha Tamar and Florence Nathania contributed to the articles.
Irawaty Wardany, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 05/02/2011 10:03 PM