If Staying Alive Was Your Greatest Achievement So Far…

Written by: Dhiandra Sekar Taji, Social Media Admin intern at Project Child Indonesia

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind  when you hear the words “staying alive”?  Is it a famous The Bee Gees song that was released in 1977? Or John Travolta’s stunning performance in the “Saturday Night Fever” movie when he sang “Staying Alive”? Well, if you say so, you’re not totally wrong because it’s true that in 1977 The Bee Gees released a mega hit called “Staying Alive”, and at the same year, John Travolta sang that song in the “Saturday Night Fever” movie. But, right now we’re not talking about The Bee Gees’s mega hit or John Travolta’s stunning performance; rather, we are talking about one of the biggest goals that we’ve made this year, which is staying alive.

Maybe some of you are wondering why staying alive is such an achievement, or you think that staying alive is so easy; you just have to live the day and enjoy your life and maybe cry if you get into problems while doing so. 

But for some people, staying alive is such an important achievement; surviving in this merciless world may feel like a challenging game. You spend hours upon hours comparing yourself to others. It’s a never-ending competition that you have between you and others. And the only thing that you get as a result of doing that is pain. The pain that causes negativity towards your mind. You will think that you’re not as good as them and you will think that you’re a useless person. 

Nonetheless,  you have to remember that every person has their own pace. Some of them are privileged enough to get to ride an airplane the moment they were born. Some aren’t as lucky as them and have to crawl to get to where they are right now. Then again, everyone does have their own timeline and pace in achieving or reaching to where they wanna be. Even those in airplanes can experience turbulence. 

This year might be hard for many people. This year may have knocked you down, leaving you gasping for air, and wishing for the strength to carry on with your life. As you try to stay still another minute, another day, or another month, your heart may have grown heavy and your soul may feel exhausted. If you keep blaming yourself for not accomplishing your wildest dream, you have to realize that you’ve already accomplished the most important breakthrough: surviving an unbearable pain.

As the sun sets on a heartbreaking year and you reflect on the life you left behind, I hope you remember that you’ve achieved the biggest victory in your life: living when every breath hurts, loving while every piece of your heart hurts, and surviving while everything is going wrong. 

If staying alive is your biggest achievement that you accomplish this year, I just want to say that I am so proud of you. I am so proud of you for putting yourself first. I am so proud of you because you keep going after everything you’ve been through. I am so proud of you and you deserve all the love and wonderful things in this world. 

Lessons that Should be Taught in School

Written by Felya Amaraputri Andhini, Social Media Admin intern at Project Child Indonesia

From the age of six, we spent five out of seven days getting our formal education in school. We learned how to do the basics; how to read, count, and write. Then, when we are in a higher level of education, the lessons also become more varied and complex.

Subjects like physics or math surely can be a gate for us, as students, to get to know about what we want to pursue in the future. However, as we grow older, we are faced with real world problems which solutions are not written in the textbook that we carried around during elementary or high school. Important things such as how to pay taxes or how to have better stress management are knowledge that we must find by ourselves. 

Have you ever felt so pressured by the amount of homeworks and exams during school years and didn’t know how to handle that so you just let it pass? Or didn’t you feel concerned when you read some news about how a young girl got pregnant? Looking at those problems, here are some of the lessons that should be taught in school.

The Importance of Our Mental Health
For twelve years, school gave us lessons about physical education. They taught us how to stay fit and active. However, it is important to note that our well-being needs to be taken care of too. Most of us, as students, experience stress or anxiety because of the pressure they get from school. 

Teaching about stress management or how to be aware when they’re feeling like they’re at their lowest point is very important because that knowledge can stick for a very long time. That’s why schools should be able to increase their role in spreading more awareness about mental health.

Financial Literacy

When we were children, surely we were always told either by our parents or teacher to save our money. They said that if we save our money, we can buy whatever we want. But not all children were taught on how to spend their money efficiently or how they should think about their necessities first before spending the money for what they want. 

As we grew up, we just then realized how important it is to have knowledge about budgeting; how to allocate our money for future plans, for emergency funds, or how to pay taxes later on. Introducing the basic concept of budgeting at a very young age will be very beneficial for the children’s future. 

Sex Education
It is known that schools in Indonesia haven’t been really paying attention to teach their students about the importance of sex education. Most schools only teach about the limited aspects of reproductive health, mainly about the threat. They don’t really touch the subject regarding consent, sexuality, or the psychological effects and sense of responsibility that one should have in terms of this matter. 

Even within a family, discussions about reproductive health or sexuality is something that can be seen as culturally unacceptable. The lack of education or awareness about this proves the fact that this topic is still a taboo subject.

Those are only three (of probably many) things that should be taught in school. Although some people may receive those lessons from their parents, wouldn’t it be very beneficial if the school provides lessons that can be applied to our everyday life in facing the real world?

Climate change; is there a future for our child?

written by Amanda Ramaningrum, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

I think we all agree that climate change is getting worse year by year. Extreme weather changes, heatwaves, floods, animal extinctions, and many more have happened this year. Did you feel the air is getting hotter these days? Well, it is actually caused by global warming effects, where now the earth is 1° Celsius warmer than pre-industrial times. 

According to Intergenerational Inequities in Exposure to Climate Extremes research, the next generation (The Alpha Gen) will face extreme weather 7 times worse in the future if we don’t take serious action to decrease carbon emissions. Not only extreme weather, but they will also experience heat waves 36 times worse than their ancestor’s generation, the boomer’s. 

If this condition continuously happens, is there a future for our child?

Well…

Gladly, nations all around the world have made a commitment to increase earth temperature by signing The Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015, 6 years ago.

The goal of this agreement is to strengthen the global treatment of climate change, by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 197 countries participated in this agreement, such as big power countries–U.S.A and China, as the largest carbon-emitting countries. 

Climate change became the main topic too at the last United Nations General Meeting Assembly (UN GA) that was held last September 2021. China shows great effort in dealing with this crisis, by stating that they would refrain from constructing new coal-fired power plants overseas.

On the other side, a big IT company–Google, also shows their support towards this problem. By October 2021, advertisers, publishers, and YouTube creators can no longer monetize content that denies the existence of climate change. 

It’s a relief that they took some action. Then, how about Indonesia?

Sadly, Indonesia still needs a big effort in reducing carbon emissions. Did you know Indonesia is included in the list of the top 10 largest carbon emitters in the world this year? Yes, with 615 tons of CO2, we successfully join the top 10 together with U.S.A and China. 

Actually, some actions have been taken by Indonesia’s government, such as officially changing the sales tax for luxury goods, in order to reduce carbon emissions from motor vehicles. But, we need more serious action from the government to face this crisis. 

As an ordinary citizen, what can I do to help?

Worry not! As an ordinary citizen, of course there are so many things we can do to save the earth. Remember, small things matter. We can do some tiny acts like bring our own shopping bags when we go shopping for groceries, use public transportation, or if you want to do a bigger thing, you can join some campaign about climate change. 

Together, let’s take better action to fight the climate crisis. Wish for a speedy recovery for our lovely earth! We can do good, for a better environment~

References 

China headed towards carbon neutrality by 2060; President Xi Jinping. (2021, September 22). UN News. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/09/1100642

Indonesia, C. (2021, October 18). Aturan Baru Sri Mulyani, Pajak Mobil Kini Mengacu Emisi. ekonomi. Retrieved October 29, 2021, from https://www.cnnindonesia.com/ekonomi/20211018133758-532-709187/aturan-baru-sri-mulyani-pajak-mobil-kini-mengacu-emisi

Peters, J. (2021, October 7). Google and YouTube will cut off ad money for climate change deniers. The Verge. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from https://www.theverge.com/2021/10/7/22715102/google-youtube-climate-change-deniers-ads-monetization
Thiery, W., Lange, S., Rogelj, J., Schleussner, C. F., Gudmundsson, L., Seneviratne, S. I., Andrijevic, M., Frieler, K., Emanuel, K., Geiger, T., Bresch, D. N., Zhao, F., Willner, S. N., Büchner, M., Volkholz, J., Bauer, N., Chang, J., Ciais, P., Dury, M., . . . Wada, Y. (2021). Intergenerational inequities in exposure to climate extremes. Science, 374(6564), 158–160. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abi7339

Project Child Indonesia Collaborates with the Alumni Grant Scheme

Written by Fitri Nurrahmawati, Grant Researcher Intern at Project Child Indonesia

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought tremendous impacts to various sectors, including education. The distance learning policy that was implemented at the beginning of March 2020 forced more than 60 million students all over Indonesia to study from home in order to avoid virus transmission. But, the accessibility to facilities and infrastructure that support the effectiveness of learning from home is not obtained inclusively by all students, thus amplifying the inequality issue that has been prevailing in Indonesia even before the pandemic.

According to SMERU (2020), students with limited support receive the worst impact from the distance learning policy[1]. Assistance to understand the subject materials as a form of learning support is considered to be a luxury in these circumstances. That is because the online interaction between students and teachers creates a barrier that makes the teachers unable to monitor students’ progress in real-time, namely due to several problems such as poor network coverage or knowledge constraints to use the online platforms. Students that come from vulnerable backgrounds are less likely to get direct assistance in understanding the materials since they are more presumably to face budget constraints to support additional online learning needs, including private tutors to help with their homework. Besides, their parents are often too busy making ends meet to fill the teacher’s role for their children. Those conditions make the children from vulnerable families prone to more learning loss.

OLA, an intervention to a more inclusive education

Project Child Indonesia developed Online Learning Assistance (OLA) in order to compensate for the challenges faced by children and parents in optimizing mandatory distance learning from school. In this program, Project Child Indonesia helps children ages 10-12 from lower and middle-income families that are having difficulty facing the shifting of the learning process system by providing Online Tutoring Sessions where volunteers assist children to apply concepts from school subjects especially Math, English, and Science, along with developing mindful learning strategies such as mindful breathing and mindful movements.

Each child is assisted by 2 volunteers through weekly online tutorials that are conducted in the cycle of semesters. The assistance is conducted via WhatsApp. Why WhatsApp? According to the research by Barhoumi (2015), WhatsApp mobile learning activities can be powerful and effective tools for students. It helps students learn and share knowledge and acquire, disseminate, and analyze information and knowledge [2]. Furthermore, WhatsApp has an easy to use interface and has been widely used in daily life where it has ranked as Indonesia’s most popular communication application, used by 143 million total users[3][4]. Cost-wise, WhatsApp can be said as the best alternative since it is a free application that requires no fees or subscriptions. It also has less data usage compared to other alternatives such as teleconference apps. Prior to the commencement of Online Learning Assistance, volunteers are equipped with training and capacity building in September (Induction Training, Mindful Teaching, Data Protection and Digital Safety for Social Programs, and Children and Young People Safeguarding Policy).

Our program was piloted in 2020, where we assisted 80 children from middle to lower-income families to understand the subject material concepts taught in schools, especially Science, Math, and English as the core subjects, considering that learning activities have not been conducted effectively thus creating a learning loss for children, especially children from vulnerable backgrounds that receive limited support. Our evaluation shows that 77.4% of children felt assisted through our programs and 80% state that this program is needed during the pandemic. In the next semester, besides teaching the core subjects, volunteers will also introduce children to mindfulness techniques, such as mindful breathing and mindful movement in order to improve their concentration and reduce stress.

Through the Alumni Grant Scheme that is administered by Australia Awards in Indonesia, the Australian Government enables Project Child Indonesia to engage with more children who would benefit from this program. Project Child Indonesia will have the opportunity to scale up our program to children across Indonesia. We are excited to be developing the initial stages of the program and look forward to its fruition.

References:

[1] Alifia, U., Barasa, A., Bima, L., Pramana, R., Revina, S., & Tresnatri, F. (2021). Learning from Home: A Portrait of Teaching and Learning Inequalities in Times of The Covid-19 Pandemic. Smeru Research Note No. 1/2021, from https://smeru.or.id/sites/default/files/publication/cp01_covidpjj_eng.pdf

[2]Barhoumi, C. (2015). The Effectiveness of WhatsApp Mobile Learning Activities Guided by Activty Theory on Students’ Knowldege Management. Contemporary Educational Technology, 6(3). doi: 10.30935/cedtech/6151

[3] The Most Used Communication Android Apps in ID according to SimilarWeb. (2021). Retrieved August 2021, from https://www.similarweb.com/apps/trends/google/app-index/id/communication/top-free/

[4] Tobing, D., & Simanjuntak, V. (2021). Does WhatsApp controversy affect Indonesian SMEs?. Retrieved August 2021, from https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2021/01/25/does-whatsapp-controversy-affect-indonesian-smes.html

3 Books to Read in 2022

Written by Arlenea Halyda, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

People say that books are the windows to the world—buku adalah jendela dunia. As an avid reader who tends to use books as an escapism method, I’m inclined to agree. Though, I’d like to alter a bit of that phrase, if I may.

Books are the windows to the soul.

As we’re entering 2022, it’s more important than ever to reconnect with the people around us; friends we haven’t seen in over a year, family members we haven’t visited in a while. During the global pandemic of 2020 and 2021, most of us were probably confined within our homes to prevent the virus from spreading. And having gone through such periods of isolation, I came to realize that as important as it was to see the world, it’s more important to be able to connect with people, especially when we couldn’t see them. Right now, we may not have a world to travel in, but human connections have the power to transcend any boundaries. 

And books, while it allows you to see the world, it mostly grants you the ability to roam the mind—whether it’s your own, the characters, the author, or a friend who recommends it to you. It was, after all, created by a stream of thoughts that’s poured into words on paper. Hence why I said books are the windows to the soul.

So, in this article, I’d like to share three books that are filled with hope, lessons, and what it means to be connected with people. Seeing that 2022 is a brand new year full of new opportunities, I thought these books might inspire you to make the best out of this year.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (Fiction)

Whether you like cats or not, Nana the cat is guaranteed to leave its claw mark on your heart.

The premise of The Travelling Cat Chronicles is quite simple: Satoru and his cat Nana were embarking on a road trip in which they visited the friends Satoru made during his youth. The book was narrated by Nana the cat, and he took us through Japan’s countryside as we recounted Satoru’s past memories. Throughout reading this book, I truly felt as if I was seeing Satoru’s world unfolding before my eyes, basking in a golden glow of nostalgia and reminiscence.

Nana’s narration was truly what made this book special. Instead of lamenting how he and Satoru were going to be separated, Nana focused on the beautiful parts of the journey. He showed us how deep friendship can run, and how meaningful passerby people and animals can be. Nana’s subtle yet strong emotion bled through the pages, just like how my tears stained the paper.

Through Nana and Satoru’s journey, I understood better what it means to be a friend. They’ve shown me all facets of love, and how even the simplest acts of kindness can go a long way. I came to understand that in a fickle and unpredictable life, the best thing you can do is to give out love and kindness. That’s what Satoru did, and I aspire to be someone like him.

If you’re looking for a wonderful tale of friendship between a cat and a human, pick this book up! Prepare your tissues, though.

What I Know for Sure by Oprah Winfrey (Biography)

Ever wondered what kind of wisdom is stored within the Oprah Winfrey? Here’s your chance.

What I Know for Sure is an anthology of Oprah’s own lived experiences. But unlike most biographies, Oprah didn’t tell you the chronological order of her life—she instead told you the stories through the lessons she learned through her experiences, and what she ended up knowing for sure. Oprah weaved her life’s tale so gently that you can’t help but feel like she’s another one of your friends, reading these stories the way a friend would.

Reading this book felt like a huge weight was taken off my shoulder. It has shown me that there are always things to learn at any given time, and I came to see how precious our lives are, how many joys are stored in even the littlest things. I understood that the bad things that happened don’t define us—the things we learned from them do. It gave me the consolation that things will change… But throughout it all, there will always be things we’ll know for sure.

These things we’ll know for sure are our core beliefs, the lessons our mother taught us, and the lessons we gained ourselves. And after reading this book, for the first time, I felt okay knowing that I haven’t had everything figured out yet. Life continues for as long as we live, and what a celebration that is.

If you’re in need of a book that feels like a giant warm hug, this is the book for you.

Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura (Fiction)

If you’re in need of thrilling ghibli-esque escapism, you can bet on this book to deliver just that.

Lonely Castle in the Mirror told the story of Kokoro, a stay-at-home middle school girl who found a portal to another world glimmering in her mirror. Inside the world was a castle with six other children, a ferocious Wolf Queen, and a deal of a lifetime: to find a key, and be granted any wish she’d like. As time went on, however, Kokoro almost forgot about the main task and befriended the other children instead, forging a bond she never thought she could have.

This whimsical story is full of twists and turns, with wholesome friendship and enough mystery to keep you on your toes. The message from this book is a bit subtler than the previous two, but it still stuck with me nonetheless, leaving me pondering about this book until even now.

This book taught me that it’s okay to seek help, and there might just be a wonderful thing waiting for you on the side you thought was so scary. It helped me come to terms with the fact that we might be separated from our friends and the people in our lives might not stay with us for a long time, but that’s okay—their kindness and the memories we shared will stay with us forever. And most importantly, this book helped me see that we’re allowed to be happy as much as we’re allowed to be sad; something that looked so simple, yet so hard to discern.

However, please be mindful of several scenes when reading this book. It has certain topics around bullying and harassment that may be triggering to some people.

*

Have a good 2022 ahead, and happy reading!

Shifting the Way We Live to be Enough

Written by Juhandi Dwi Putra Lyana, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

When I was in highschool, I saw my friend get an achievement because he won a science olympic. I congratulated him, but deep down I envied his achievement. It could be me. Stephen Covey calls this as Scarcity Mental. It can be said that this mind has been developed since we were kids. We may, however, live in abundance with practice.

According to Stephen Covey,  “The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people”. It is based on the idea that there simply is not enough to go around.  Our mind begins to focus on the shortage of love, friendships, time, and money. We feel alone and unwanted, powerless and pessimistic that we will not be treated fairly.

Before we jump into how to change scarcity to abundance, we need to know what abundance is. According to Stephen Covey, The Abundance Mentality flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity”. Abundance is a profound feeling of self-awareness about your role in the world. It is not measured by things. 

How to Shift Scarcity to Abundance

First thing that we need to change is by deciding to do it. Making a decision is the hardest part. Once you have done that, the rest will fall into place naturally. 

  1. Have Appreciative Conversations

When we notice good qualities in others and point them out, our mentality turns to one of optimism. This, in turn, highlights the positive aspects of your life. Do not forget to thank them and compliment them on their work.

  1. Organize Your Home and Your Life

When we are disorganized, a part of our brain tells us that we are not in control, that everything is falling apart. We must begin to arrange ourselves, taking small steps at first.

Perhaps you should begin by arranging time to clean your own room. Clean up the messes, and we will have more mental room for other, more positive aspects of our lives.

  1. Reduce Your Media Consumption

Media is designed to tell us that we don’t have enough so that we yearn for more. We see someone else’s posts and feel sad when we look at ourselves.  We compare ourselves to only partially true images that people portray.  We can’t possibly compete with a false image and you inevitably fall short. That is defined as scarcity.

  1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Do not compare yourself to others because you have no idea what is going on in their lives. You are sufficient in your current state. You are a one-of-a-kind individual. Everyone moves at their own speed and on their own schedule. They, like you, are also going through a difficult time.

  1. Remind Yourself That There is More Than Enough

This is a basic exercise that we can repeat over and over again. Remind yourself that there is enough and that you are enough when you feel lost and empty. Give yourself a cheerleading statement such as “this too shall pass”, “I am enough”, “there is reason in this”, “I will survive” or whatever works for you. It could be a song lyric or something said by someone. Find words that inspire you that you may repeat to yourself as a reminder.

We have to make our “not enough” to be our motivation to achieve something in future. We have the biggest control of ourselves. Don’t let our scarcity mental make us suffer. We need to remember that each of us has our own places. Let there be abundance in our mind. 

Reference

Butler, L. (n.d.). Living in “Not Enough”? How To Feel About What You’ve Got. Bay Area Mental Health. Retrieved 10 29, 2021, from  https://support.bayareamentalhealth.com/kb/en/article/living-in-not-enough-how-to-feel-about-what-youve-got

New Year, New Me: A “Good” Resolution

Written by Nathaniel Alvino Risa Prima, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

2021 might have been rough for some, and no one could promise that 2022 would get much better. There will always be challenges along the way, but hey! Isn’t it better to remain high-spirited and optimistic in every period?

What makes humans as advanced creatures is that we have the ability to learn from our past experience. We are able to turn our memories into a note to guide us through a new circle of period. Every human has their own “superpower” to recall the past patterns and make them as a foundation for the future endeavours.

One of the most familiar and easiest ways is through the writing of New Year’s resolutions!

Well, have you taken a seat for a while to write your resolution for 2022?

Most people start the new year (or new year eve) by writing down their dreams, aspirations, and what-so-called “resolution” as their new year starter. It has indeed always been a good idea to involve yourself through a new beginning with full optimism and spirit.  

Resolution usually includes the dream, aspirations, purposes, and goals that people want to reach in a new phase or period. It might be in the form of numbered lists or paragraphs. Depends on whatever suits the writers, personally. Some prefer to write them in a piece of paper, while others prefer to write them in their gadget.

If you ask me, I prefer to keep them in my head, simply. I only dream and aspire for a few significant things, so my memory works pretty well to memorize my little resolution. Dreams and purposes are very personal to me. Thus, my heart will guide me to keep them fiery within me.

You can do whatever the way that suits you!

But, eh, what makes a resolution to be good?

Hmm, the answer was never supposed to be out there! It’s always within you! Many young people aspire to be smarter, taller, richer, stronger and few expect themselves to be kinder.

They pursue many things with passion and confidence. Education and support have always been their biggest drive. They treat their dream as something that is urged to be turned into reality.

Well, whatever you decide to write on your paper for 2022 is not something that deserves to be judged by the external parties such as your parents, friends, colleagues, your work partners, or even, me – who write this article. It’s you who have the full authority to put the things you want to do or accomplish in your resolution.

On the other hand, there is this particular issue. Some of us have been often swayed away by how our surroundings and society expect us to be – to the extent that we don’t recognize what we really need, or most importantly, what we really love.

Sometimes, we want things not because we really want them; let alone love them. Instead, it’s because of the existence of the majority who want it or idealize it, so we would be perceived as a “weirdo” if we don’t want them, too.

In other words, some of us still follow (or are driven by) the crowd stream.

I still remember the one time I talked with my girlfriend. We talked about the things that we want to do in the future. She said she wants to live in a humble, small-town neighbourhood for the coming years; she wants to turn herself away from the urban money and high-paid job. At the beginning, I questioned her aspiration, “Why?”

Then, her answer still makes me wonder and think until today.

“Why? Simply, because I love it!”

For some people, money is not the most important thing. Let alone high-paid jobs. While for others, it might be. Hmm, I suppose nothing wrong with either of them. It’s pretty much the corollary of internalized teachings and values. At the end of the day, who am I to judge?

You can always dream to your “wildest”! Each one of us has the power, ability, and right to write whatever you aspire to in your New Year’s resolution.

Nonetheless, I have two short messages for you to put in mind. First, please make sure that your aspiration brings you and others joy. Don’t aim for something that only brings yourself pain and hurts others. Second, please recognize what you truly need and love. Stop being a fish that follows the stream. Instead, like a salmon, do your own stream!

Happy New Year!