FOMO vs JOMO: Why It Is Fine to Miss Out

Written by Amaranila Nariswari, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

FOMO, JOMO, Cheugy, Bussin”, do you know what those words mean? If your answer is absolutely yes!, then congratulations, you haven’t miss a single beat of TikTok’s latest famous slang words. But if your answer is mainly no, then congratulations, too! Not knowing what’s in the trend is not something you should be ashamed of. FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is the feeling of anxiety you get when you think someone else is having a valuable experience, while you are not (Przybylski et al., 2013). The key point of FOMO is that you missed the experience, and sometimes you might feel that it would be the end of your social life.

While knowing all the latest trends in social media helps you understand most of its contents, the feeling of FOMO pushes you to know more about everything happening around the internet. It’s crazy! It often makes you stressed out when you don’t know something is happening. Furthermore, FOMO is said to be linked to reduced life satisfaction, bad temperamental, and even higher problematic usage of social media (Baker et al., 2016; Elhai et al., 2016; Beyens et al., 2016 in Milyavskaya, 2018). It’s a cycle that brings people into depression and could bring physical symptoms, too, like muscle tension, headaches, or insomnia. 

Wortham (2011) said that FOMO most likely occurs due to the amplification of the ever-growing social media. However, experiencing FOMO doesn’t always have to be social media-related. It could also happen when you miss out on a chance given by someone, and you begin to think of thewhat ifs”. Sometimes we have to miss an opportunity due to an obligation we have to fulfill, but when we miss something, we begin to think if it is really worth the sacrifice. For instance, you were torn between studying or attending a party, but eventually, you chose to study instead of going to the party. You wonder if you made the right choice, I mean, if you did go to that party, you can mingle and socialize with your friends, and you can always study later

Believe me, though, you did not miss anything. Well, maybe you did, but let’s pretend that it is not something big, and we can always grow from that. Would you believe me if I said that missing out on something is a form of self-love? When you know you missed out on something and decide that it is okay, you let yourself rest and even feel joyful! It’s not always easy, but you can start by distracting yourself by doing something productive and focusing on your well-being. Here’s how you can start letting go of the feeling of FOMO:

  1. Meditating

Meditating is an excellent way to start releasing tension. Using the technique of mindfulness, we learn to attain emotional and mentally stable conditions. Through meditating, you develop a mindset of the present and you let go of any sense of judgment. While you live in the present, you let go of your past. You know that not everything in the future will go in accordance with your will, too, but you let go. Citing SCL Health, the key to mindfulness is to observe your thoughts and let them pass by. You are separated from your thoughts, meaning you don’t have to comply with your anxiety of wanting to know everything at every moment.

  1. Read books

You can never go wrong with reading books. Take a 15-minute break from your work and study. Instead of scrolling through your social media, grab a book and let yourself get immersed in your reading. Keep in mind that it doesn’t always have to be a self-motivating book or other highly-substantive reading. You can read anything you feel comfortable with, even comics, as long as it brings you joy and the feeling of calmness. It could be better if you get inspired after reading, then you can be productive in doing your job later instead of worrying about missing a single thing.

  1. Gardening, playing musical instruments, or volunteering with us!

Let’s not forget about hobbies. You can do your hobbies, be it gardening, cooking, listening and playing musical instruments, doing sports, or basically anything! Doing your hobby–while it doesn’t interfere with your obligations–is good for your mental health. Don’t forget, too, that you can choose to do social work, for instance, by participating in volunteering events. Through volunteering, you can get to know new people, give-back to your surroundings, gain new perspectives, and learn to be grateful for the life you have. If you haven’t known about this, we, Project Child Indonesia, constantly provide a place for you to contribute as a volunteer in our programs. You can check our website and social media to learn more about it!

Now that you have tried several ways to avoid things that might bring you anxiety, you can actually feel the Joy of Missing Out, or JOMO. When you feel okay being left out of the trends, you can actually achieve more than you can think of. You will get to spend more time doing something genuinely productive, which helps your own self-development. I know, I know, it is not as easy as it might sound. Getting away from my phone and doing other activities? How would you expect me to do that!? Well, I expect you to do it slowly but surely! A little progress is still progress, and remember to not force yourself!

References:

Milyavskaya, M., et al. (2018). Fear of missing out: prevalence, dynamics, and consequences of experiencing FOMO. Motivation and Emotion, 42, 725–737. doi:10.1007/s11031-018-9683-5

Przybylski, A. K., et al. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1841–1848. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2013.02.014

SCL Health. (n.d). Why We Feel FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and What to Do About It. SCL Health. Retrieved from https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2019/03/why-we-feel-fomo-and-what-to-do-about-it/

SCL Health. (n.d). Meditation Techniques from Beginner to Pro. SCL Health. Retrieved from https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2018/09/a-peek-at-five-different-types-of-meditation/ 
Wortham, J. (2011). Feel like a wallflower? Maybe it’s your Facebook Wall. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/business/10ping.html

Every Drop for Every Child: A Look Back at Project Child Indonesia’s Water Sustainability Programs

Written by Maria Olivia Laurent, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Water is something we see basically everywhere around us that we often forget not all have the same equal privilege as us to enjoy it. Lack of access to clean water is one of Indonesia’s most long-standing issues. This doesn’t only happen on the environmental surface, but almost all of our sectors, including public welfare. Today, on 22 March 2022, we celebrate World Water Day and the advocacy to raise awareness on the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This year’s theme is “Groundwater – Making the Invisible Visible”, a campaign calling us to explore and protect vital groundwater sources to adapt to climate change and use it to fulfill the needs of our people. 

The issue we’re currently facing in Indonesia

As one of the most populous countries in the world, Indonesia has suffered from water shortage and pollution for decades. We may not realize it at first as we live in big cities with more accessible facilities, but our loved ones in rural areas have struggled to live as dignified human beings without water resources, going as far as walking hundreds of miles to get to the nearest source and drinking polluted water. About 18 million Indonesians lack safe water, and 20 million lack access to improved sanitation facilities. A 2017 survey of drinking water in Yogyakarta, Central Java, reveals that 89% of water sources and 67% of household drinking water are contaminated with bacteria. This is likely because our nationwide water treatment facility doesn’t operate as well as it should be, with only 7% of our wastewater being recycled and treated. 

This horrifying fact is even made worse with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic where millions are denied access to life’s most vital resource—water. These people living in society’s poorest level are unable to afford clean drinking water, household sanitation, and hygienic healthcare. 

This has to change. This has to change now

Every person deserves clean water no matter who they are and where they come from. 

How can I help?

So, how can we reflect on this issue and help our people? This is the question that I really hope more youths should find themselves asking. With the privileges and materials that we have, how can we contribute? 

I understand we can’t really do much on a wider scale as this issue has been going around for years and demands a more serious effort from the government to solve this, but there are still things we can do. Recognizing this issue exists alone is already enough for us to spread awareness and voice our complaints louder so we can be heard by those in power. 

Project Child Indonesia exists to solve this problem on a societal level and to give you the platform to directly help those in need through our programs. So look no further! If you want to become the next pillar in our generation helping to alleviate this water sustainability issue, join us in tackling this challenge together. We welcome every help we need and more.

Here are some of our water programs we developed with the help of our amazing donors and contributors: 

  1. Sanitation and Hygiene Program

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Project Child Indonesia collaborated with Mercedes Benz in providing handwashing facilities scattered throughout 10 elementary schools in Sleman district, Yogyakarta. We also equipped the children with proper hygiene education in light of the pandemic’s health and safety measures by handing out digital booklets as well as educational posters and videos. This project is completed in December 2021 and is officially supported by Dinas Pendidikan Kabupaten Sleman. 

Read more about this on: https://projectchild.ngo/blog/2021/12/21/project-child-indonesia-and-mercedes-benz-delivered-sanitation-and-hygiene-facilities-to-10-schools-in-yogyakarta/

  1. Drinking Water Program

Answering the demands of the lack of free drinking water facilities at schools in Yogyakarta, this program was created in 2016 where we provide water filter facilities to 63 elementary school partners spread in Yogyakarta, Pacitan (East Java), Fak-Fak (West Papua), and Lebak (Banten). We hope this initiative will combat the wasteful consumption of water using single-use plastic bottles. Our team also conducts an educational and environmental campaign where we focus on helping the students understand the importance of staying hydrated and avoiding sugary drinks. Additionally, providing free water at schools will help both kids and their parents save up money! Another yay for us. 

Read more about this on: https://projectchild.ngo/our-program/drinking-water-program/

  1. Beach School and River School (Sekolah Pantai and Sekolah Sungai)

These programs are perhaps what we are most known for. Our work in the river schools in Kricak, Gajah Wong, and Code riverbanks concentrates on health and environmental campaign, community engagement, and development. We also improve the community’s local tourism, urban farming, sanitation campaign, and disaster management. 

Our beach schools around Pacitan are created as an alternative education school offering a broad field of holistic learning experience both in Indonesian and English as well as promoting ocean conversation. We also partnered with various local high schools that would send their students here to learn how to be eco ambassadors. 

Read more about this on: https://projectchild.ngo/our-program/sekolah-pantai/ & https://projectchild.ngo/our-program/sekolah-sungai/  

Our journey is still far from over. Across Indonesia, organizations and individuals are working hard to ensure that our children can get the necessary clean water supply they need for a better future. We, too, are still working hard. But we know we can’t do this by ourselves. We need your help.

Today, on March 22, we celebrate the people behind this global movement who tirelessly fight for water equality.

Today, we celebrate us and you and our will to share this issue with the world. 

References

Silitonga, A. (2021, April 13). Handwashing helps schools safely reopen across Indonesia. Unicef Indonesia. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/indonesia/stories/handwashing-helps-schools-safely-reopen-across-indonesia

Water.org. (2022). Indonesia’s water and sanitation crisis. Retrieved from https://water.org/our-impact/where-we work/indonesia/#:~:text=About%2018%20million%20Indonesians%20lack,sanitation%20is%20a%20growing%20need

World Water Day. (2022). World Water Day 2022. Retrieved from https://www.worldwaterday.org/

Bangkitkan Budaya Mendongeng kepada Anak

Written by Zahara Almira Ramadhan, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Siapa yang ingat dengan cerita Bawang Merah dan Bawang Putih? Dongeng yang menceritakan anak yang kejam versus anak yang baik hati ini cukup susah dilupakan, bukan? Dongeng telah mewarnai masa kecil kita dan meninggalkan memori yang berkesan sampai kita tumbuh dewasa. Namun, apakah dongeng masih relevan di era yang sudah serba digital ini?

Tentu saja! Dongeng merupakan sebuah tradisi mendunia yang akan tetap relevan seiring perkembangan zaman. Apakah kamu tahu bahwa sejak tahun 2005, satu dunia memperingati Hari Dongeng Sedunia pada tanggal 20 Maret? Awalnya, Hari Dongeng dipelopori oleh negara Swedia pada tahun 2001, lalu menyebar ke negara-negara lainnya sampai mendunia. Tema yang diangkat pun bervariasi dari tahun ke tahun. Pada tahun 2022 ini, Hari Dongeng Sedunia mengangkat tema “Lost and Found” atau “Hilang dan Ditemukan”, yang mengacu pada segala hal yang telah direnggut oleh pandemi, namun dapat ditemukan kembali melalui harapan yang diberikan oleh dongeng.

Apakah Indonesia merayakan Hari Dongeng?

Indonesia juga memperingati Hari Dongeng, tepatnya pada tanggal 28 November mulai tahun 2015. Tanggal ini ditetapkan sebagai Hari Dongeng Nasional karena tanggal tersebut merupakan hari kelahiran Drs. Suyadi atau yang dikenal sebagai Pak Raden, sosok yang berjasa dalam perdongengan Indonesia. Kamu pasti tahu karakter Si Unyil, kan? Karakter ikonis ini merupakan karya Pak Raden pada tahun 1980-an dan melegenda sampai saat ini.

Selain Si Unyil, Indonesia memliki banyak dongeng yang berasal dari berbagai macam daerah. Dongeng-dongeng tersebut juga biasa disebut sebagai cerita rakyat maupun legenda. Mulai dari Bawang Merah dan Bawang Putih, Timun Mas, Malin Kundang, Sangkuriang, sampai legenda asal-usul berbagai macam tempat seperti Danau Toba, Selat Bali, dan masih banyak lagi. Dari judulnya saja sudah terlihat bahwa dongeng Indonesia dapat membuka wawasan anak mengenai daratan dan budaya Indonesia. Tidak hanya itu, dongeng juga mempunyai banyak manfaat untuk perkembangan anak.

Manfaat dongeng untuk anak

  1. Mengasah daya imajinasi dan kemampuan kognitif
    Dongeng dapat memicu daya imajinasi anak, yang juga berpengaruh terhadap kreativitas dan kemampuan kognitif si kecil. Menurut Sally Goddard Blythe, Direktur The Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology (dalam Darmawan, 2021), imajinasi dapat mengembangkan keterampilan pemecahan masalah dan berpikir kritis terhadap berbagai aspek dalam hidup anak, serta menciptakan ide dan sudut pandang baru. Imajinasi juga berperan untuk membuka wawasan anak terhadap dunia, baik itu mengenai tempat-tempat yang belum ia jelajahi maupun budaya dan aspek sosial lainnya.
  2. Menumbuhkan kecerdasan sosial dan emosional
    Dongeng pada umumnya mengandung norma sosial, nilai-nilai kehidupan, dan pesan moral yang dapat diambil oleh pembaca atau pendengarnya. Oleh karena itu, anak dapat mengetahui perbedaan perilaku baik dan buruk, serta konsekuensi yang datang bersamanya. Kegiatan mendongeng juga dapat meningkatkan komunikasi antar orang tua dan anak sehingga terbentuk hubungan yang lebih erat antar keduanya. Terlebih dari itu, menurut para ilmuwan, bacaan fiksi dapat memudahkan anak-anak dalam memahami orang lain dan dalam mengekspresikan empati (Saptoyo, 2021).
  3. Mengasah keterampilan bahasa
    Kekuatan super lainnya yang dipancarkan oleh dongeng adalah stimulasi keterampilan bahasa anak. Dengan berbagai kosakata baru dari dongeng, keterampilan bahasa anak otomatis berkembang, dan mereka menjadi lebih fasih dalam berkomunikasi (Dra. Ratih Ibrahim, M.M., dalam Pertiwi, n.d). Dengan pilihan buku dongeng yang tepat dan menarik, minat baca anak juga dapat tumbuh dan dikembangkan.

Wah, banyak sekali ya manfaat yang bisa didapatkan dari dongeng! Sayangnya, kegiatan mendongeng perlahan ditinggalkan oleh banyak orang di masa kini. Keberadaan teknologi seperti smartphone dan tab yang dilengkapi dengan berbagai macam aplikasi dianggap lebih praktis untuk menjadi sarana hiburan anak. Maka dari itu, Project Child Indonesia ingin mengajakmu untuk menghidupkan kembali budaya mendongeng di Hari Dongeng Sedunia ini! Bagaimana caranya? Simak beberapa cara mendongeng di bawah ini.

Cara mendongeng kepada anak

  1. Mendongeng secara verbal
    Mendongeng secara verbal merupakan cara yang paling umum digunakan. Kamu tidak perlu menghafal sebuah cerita untuk melakukannya, tetapi kamu dapat membacakan sebuah cerita secara lantang. Sebaliknya, kamu juga dapat menceritakan dongeng-dongeng yang kamu ketahui tanpa memiliki buku atau teks tertentu. Jangan lupa untuk gunakan suara yang berbeda untuk tiap karakter agar ceritanya menjadi lebih hidup!
  2. Gunakan properti
    Cara yang satu ini tentu saja opsional, namun akan sangat menarik di mata anak. Apabila kamu memiliki boneka, topeng, atau properti lainnya yang serupa dengan tokoh di cerita, kamu dapat menggunakannya untuk mendongeng. Kamu juga dapat mengajak anak untuk ikut menggerakkan properti-properti yang ada untuk merangsang aspek motorik mereka.
  3. Putarkan video dongeng
    Cara yang terakhir ini merupakan bukti kepraktisan dari teknologi. Apabila kamu tidak banyak memiliki waktu luang untuk mencari buku dan menyiapkan properti, Youtube merupakan opsi yang cukup layak untuk mendongeng. Kamu dapat mencari berbagai macam dongeng dari Indonesia maupun luar negeri, yang biasanya sudah dianimasikan sesuai dengan tokoh dan alur ceritanya. Terlebih lagi, anak juga dapat mulai belajar bahasa asing melalui dongeng luar negeri. Namun, perlu diingat bahwa lamanya paparan gadget terhadap anak butuh dibatasi, dan paparan layar sendiri tidak dianjurkan untuk anak di bawah usia tiga tahun.

Itu dia ketiga cara mudah mendongeng kepada anak. Mengingat banyaknya manfaat dan besarnya peran dongeng bagi anak dan orang-orang yang terlibat, akan sangat berarti apabila kita dapat melestarikan dongeng kepada generasi selanjutnya. Terlebih lagi di tahun 2022 ini, dengan tema  “Lost and Found” atau “Hilang dan Ditemukan”, kami harap dongeng dapat menjadi inspirasi bagi seluruh orang tua, anak-anak, atau siapa pun untuk menemukan setidaknya secercah cahaya dalam gelapnya pandemi. Walaupun pandemi telah merenggut banyak hal dan orang-orang yang sebelumnya berada di sekitar kita, kami yakin masih ada harapan dan masa depan yang menanti untuk semua orang di luar sana. Selamat Hari Dongeng Sedunia!

References

Darmawan, E. S. (2021, April 29). Meningkatkan Kecerdasan Anak lewat Imajinasi. Kompas.com. Retrieved from: https://lifestyle.kompas.com/read/2021/04/29/121700820/meningkatkan-kecerdasan-anak-lewat-imajinasi#:~:text=Kemampuan%20imajinasi%20tersebut%20perlu%20dikembangkan,mengasah%20kreativitas%20dan%20kemampuan%20kognitif.&text=Imajinasi%20juga%20berperan%20penting%20bagi,membantu%20mereka%20dalam%20memahami%20dunia

Pertiwi, A. (n.d). 3 Cara Kreatif Agar Aktivitas Mendongeng untuk Anak Jadi Lebih Seru. theAsianparent Indonesia. Retrieved from: https://id.theasianparent.com/cara-mendongeng-untuk-anak Saptoyo, R. D. A. (2021, March 20). Hari Dongeng Sedunia: Sejarah dan Pentingnya Dongeng untuk Anak. Kompas.com. Retrieved from: https://www.kompas.com/tren/read/2021/03/20/142500865/hari-dongeng-sedunia–sejarah-dan-pentingnya-dongeng-untuk-anak?page=all

You in Your Favorite Characters: Accepting Your Flaws

Written by Amaranila Nariswari, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Have you jumped on to the hot news of how Disney+ is currently undergoing the adaptation process of the Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series? This indeed is good news for all demigods out there! The Percy Jackson and the Olympian series has been a bestseller for more than a decade now, and it’s not out of nothing that the books have a lot of fans until today. The author of the series, Rick Riordan, has a way to captivate his readers’ hearts and mind through his writings. He managed to touch young-adult audiences by using relatable characters and references. 

Personally, I enjoyed reading the series a lot because of its main characters. The series revolves around the young Percy Jackson, his best friend Grover Underwood, and the smart-girl-daughter-of-Athena Annabeth Chase, whom he met when he first arrived at the special summer camp for demigods–Camp Half-Blood. The way Riordan wrote his books, it is as if I am a part of the gang, and throughout the first to the last book, I was growing with them. I can sense myself developing along with them. Most importantly, I begin to accept myself for who I am through my journey with the trio. 

Why, you ask? Riordan made me aware of my flaws by introducing the trio’s fatal flaws throughout the series. Before we continue discussing the trio’s weaknesses, let’s discuss why it is important to realize that every one of us owns at least one flaw. Remember that you are a human being and that nobody is perfect, but those imperfections are what settle you to the ground. It makes you, well, you, and know that you are likable because of your flaws. 

Through her book “You Are Enough: Embrace Your Flaws and Be Happy Being You”, Cheryl Rickman (2021) gave a good example of acknowledging and embracing our flaws. She said, remember why you loved your best friend, it’s not because of their looks, but the silliness you did together due to your flaws! Remember when you both almost fought because of a slight misunderstanding, BUT you’re just easily angered? *insert wink emojis here*. That sure was a memorable moment and shaped your friendship stronger, wasn’t it? 

Anyway, let’s get into the fun business! If you haven’t read the series yet, I’ll introduce you to my favorite trio and their humane flaws. I’m sure some of you can relate to theirs, because I do.

  1. The infamous Percy Jackson

Can you guess what Percy’s fatal flaw is? According to Athena, a.k.a the goddess of wisdom and battle strategy in PJO book 3, The Titan’s Curse, Percy has the fatal flaw of loyalty. While being loyal is good, Percy is considered too loyal to his friends, to the point he is very much predictable to his enemies. Well, some of you might think that being loyal is a good feature one should have, but sacrificing your own being for others is not always good. In fact, it is harmful to your mental state as you only care for your surroundings but not yourself. In order to maintain your physical and mental health, it is best if you could put yourself first before others because at the end of the day, only you are responsible for your own well-being.

  1. Annabeth-Not-Anyone’s-Sidekick-Chase

Annabeth has been one of my favorite characters for as long as I can remember. She is smart, brave, and independent. She managed to know what to do in all situations. Funnily, it is also her fatal flaw. In PJO book two, The Sea of Monster, she is portrayed as getting swayed by the hypnotic effect of the Siren’s singing. When Annabeth listened to it, she saw a world she had built. She thought she could make anything better than everyone else could. This is called hubris or deadly pride, which not seldom puts her and her friends in deadly situations. While being confident is good, remember that there is always room for improvement within us. So, take notes from your surroundings as everything can give us new learnings, every day, everywhere. Most importantly, push yourself to never stop learning!

  1. Grover Underwood, our favorite satyr best friend!

Ooh!! I know this one is very common! Yep, as far as I can see, Grover’s flaw is…insecurity. He did not develop a talent very well for a satyr his age at first. All satyrs in Camp Half-Blood are expected to become a searcher, searching for the god of the wild, Pan. Grover is no different, though. Being a searcher was his long-time dream, but he is insecure about his capabilities. However, with constant support from a lot of his friends, Grover is finally able to achieve that dream! Not only that, he became braver and more confident!. So, take notes to choose good friends, or better, be a good friend to others. I promise it will do you good in the future.

Finally, students, it’s time to review what we have learned from our lesson from earlier. First, remember to acknowledge your flaws. It is okay if you have more than one, or even a lot, it means that you know yourself well and are willing to improve yourself. To admit that you are flawed is already half of the process, and it’s not easy. But if you can manage, I promise it will be easier for you. Next, what you have to do is to embrace them. It is a part of you, and it shaped you to your ground. Make sure that those flaws do not put anyone at harm and work on them. Believe that you can be the better version of yourself, and to achieve that, surround yourself with good people. However, remember to always be kind to yourself. I know it will take some time for you to actually feel good after admitting your flaw, but let us be kind to ourselves. 

References:

Rickman, C. (2021). You Are Enough: Embrace Your Flaws and Be Happy Being You. Chichester, United Kingdom: Summersdale Publishers Limited.

Riordan, R. (2006). The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2). Los Angeles, California, United States: Hyperion/Miramax Kid.

Riordan, R. (2007). The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3). Los Angeles, California, United States: Hyperion/Miramax Kid.

#BreakTheBias: It Doesn’t Stop With Us

Written by Maria Olivia Laurent, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Every night, I dream. I dream of a country where I can see an equal percentage of male and female policymakers sitting in our parliament and an equal distribution of wages and benefits in the workplace. I dream of seeing a rise of women in STEM and politics and a more diverse representation in the media where little girls can see themselves in these amazing women and say, “I want to be like her.”

Above all, I dream of a day where we can finally realize that fighting for gender equality is not just about people allowing more opportunities for us women to thrive in a man’s world. It’s so much more than that. It’s also about us acknowledging our identities and knowing we are deserving of our worth.

Today, on 8 March 2022, we celebrate International Women’s Day. We celebrate all amazing women around the world; mothers, doctors, workers, artists, technicians, athletes, teachers, creators, and many more. However, as we struggle to move forward in this turbulent time, we can clearly see the grievous impact of this pandemic on women’s lives. From losing a job, having to take care of the entire family, and being helpless amidst these rapid socio-economic changes, we see our fellow sisters being pushed backward and backward. To make it worse, this doesn’t just happen suddenly during the pandemic. This inequality has taken root in our society, rotting our beliefs and poisoning our minds, since centuries ago with discriminations against women in various fields; education, healthcare, media, workplace, politics, and society. 

Yes, I do realize we’ve come a long way. We have female presidents, female astronauts, award-winning female filmmakers, and other inspiring women whose achievements forge the way for us.  Some even might say that feminism has already reached its peak and we should be grateful instead of demanding more. But while I truly, truly hope gender inequality can end with our generation, the reality still doesn’t show that. 

Our fight doesn’t end here. It doesn’t stop with those women only. It doesn’t stop with us. It continues to our children, and it may never stop with them UNLESS we educate them, the pillars of the future, of what we experienced today so they can learn from it. 

We can break these generational-long biases. We can ensure a better and safer world for our little girls. We can do it now. 

Teach them to say ‘No, this is not fair.’

In many fields, notably the workplace, men are generally portrayed as the ‘leader’ type with their achievement-orientation, direct approach to things, and autonomy. This is why many of our world’s leaders are still dominated by men. Meanwhile, the same lens that portrays that associated women with communal characteristics such as affiliation tendencies, emotional sensitivity, and caring nature. Basically, they see men as leaders and women as caretakers, and this preference toward men in positions of power affects women’s career growth and confidence.

So what if there is a female leader who shows emotions and concerns for others? It’s not a loss! Both employers and workers should work together to treat women with respect and give them credit where credit is due. The world needs more women leaders who will use their voice to say ‘NO’ to this workplace discrimination and allow equal opportunities regardless of any backgrounds. Companies should start breaking male leadership preferences and include women in critical discussions. 

Begin the learning process from childhood

Stereotypes won’t disappear unless people realize it’s harmful. As adults and role models, we should show the right examples to our children and correct their assumptions with our actions rather than words only. In many cases, children grow up thinking they have to incline to specific gender roles such as boys can only play with masculine toys like robots and cars while girls are only given feminine toys like dolls. Here are a few things we can do to educate our children on gender justice:

  1. Don’t limit their activities.

Let them play with whatever toys they want! Toys are created to stimulate their skills. For example, robots target spatial skills, and dolls target sociability. Limiting their hands-on experiences will only stunt their development.

  1. Don’t be afraid to talk about racism and sexism.

Have an open conversation about the history of racism and sexism. Set examples that disabled women, women of color, and the LGBTQ+ can also become heroes.

  1. Allow them to express their emotions.

The term ‘boys don’t cry’ is an example of toxic masculinity and originates from childhood where parents shamed their children when they show emotions. Crying is not girly! Encourage our boys to develop their sensitivities and empathies so they can be more compassionate toward women’s struggles.

  1. Expose them to a diverse world.

Show them the beauty of diversity and representations of various cultures and races in the movies and books they consumed. This will help them understand that differences are part of human nature and it’s not something they should avoid. Let them explore!

The past is something we have to learn from so the present we live in now can impact the future. From the women warriors donning a man’s helmet to ride in the war, to the first women scientists and technicians helping in the industrial revolution, to the women around us challenging the norms in their own respective fields, years and years of this oppression will always stick with us if we do not act now. 

It may not end with us. But it can start with us, with our voices, with our actions, with our movement. 

Then, someday, I hope I can wake up and see my dream become a reality.

I truly hope so. 

References

International Women’s Day. (2022). Breaking down barriers for women in leadership. Retrieved from https://www.internationalwomensday.com/Missions/15076/Breaking-down-barriers-for-women-in-leadership

Sanchez, G. R. (2018, December 20). How to educate children for gender equality. Believe Earth. Retrieved from https://believe.earth/en/how-to-educate-children-for-gender-equality/Toegel, I. & Lavanchy, M. (2019, March 7). How to beat gender stereotypes: learn, speak up and react. World Economic Forum. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/03/beat-gender-stereotypes-learn-speak-up-and-react/

How to Build Your Future: Pandemic Edition

Written by Zahara Almira Ramadhan, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Have you ever felt stuck in the pandemic? Online classes, working from home, and limited outdoor activities can certainly make you feel like your potentials are not growing as they should, right? 

It’s no joke that mental health problems have been rising ever since the pandemic. With the loss of real-life interactions with social peers, children and young adults are experiencing drastic changes within their daily activities. Lack of motivation, anxiety, depression, and self-doubt are only some of the common issues found among young people. With so much existing pressure at a young age, your future eventually becomes the subject in question, doesn’t it?

Is there any future for me in this virtual life?

The answer is definitely a yes. There are actually a handful of opportunities waiting for you at the very second you are reading this. You might think that you’ve lost the opportunity to explore the world, but look at the bright side of what digitalization has brought to us! Meaningful programs such as virtual internships and workshops are open 24/7 for you to dive in without sacrificing your academic responsibilities. You can even apply for programs that are originally held in another city or even other countries! Think about it, you can start working towards your future career without worrying about splitting your body into two different places, literally. 

If you are still unsure of where to start (or even starting at all), worry not. Let us guide you through some steps on building your future throughout the pandemic.

Set your goals

The first step is to set your goals. You will always be clueless about your future if you haven’t sat down and thought about your goals. What do you want to do after you graduate? Where do you want to be five years from now? What are your passions?

A wise man once told me to set SMARTER goals, in which each letter stands by its own contribution.

  • Specific instead of being too broad and general.
  • Meaningful. It has to be meaningful for you.
  • Achievable. Make sure you can actually reach the goal.
  • Relevant. Make it relevant to your values, beliefs, and life purposes.
  • Time-Based. Pick a time for your goal to be achieved, such as October 2022 or any other date.
  • Evaluative. You have to evaluate your goals as time goes by.
  • Re-evaluation. If it turns out that you are not making progress, you need to make changes to the goal itself or to the ways you approach it.

Goal-setting can be hard for some people, though. If you find it hard to answer those questions and get specific enough in one sitting, you can always take another time to think about it. This is your future we are talking about, not a due-tomorrow assignment. You can always jot down your ideas one by one, day by day.

Develop your skills

Once your goals are set, you need to decide your ways toward achieving those goals. What skills do you need in order to reach your goals? How can you gain those skills?

During the pandemic, you can gain various skills by joining virtual programs that are available out there, such as:

  • Internships. An internship is a wonderful place to earn skills by handling specific tasks and projects, and you can even get paid for it!
  • Volunteering activities. A volunteering activity gives you a way to learn and earn certain skills while giving back to your community, the environment, or even the world.
  • Online courses. You can learn at your own pace at any time of the day, and most lecture videos can be played multiple times. Some of the courses are even free, and you can earn a certificate as your credibility badge.
  • Workshops or webinars. Many interesting experts are speakers in demand for workshops and webinars, so it would be a great opportunity to learn from the experts themselves. Plus, you can ask questions during the Q&A session.
  • Online competitions. You can turn your interests into a proven skill by joining competitions such as debate, scientific papers, or business innovations competitions.
  • Student clubs or non-profit organizations. Clubs and organizations need structural and functional positions in which you can acquire skills from.

Pro tip: start keeping an eye on your local or international NGOs. Most NGOs constantly need volunteers and interns for their projects and functional positions. Take Project Child Indonesia as an example, we always need young people like you to help us establish a better place for children. See our newest recruitment on our website.

Commit to your plans

Last but not least, commitment is the seal-the-deal step in building your future. Your goals and plans could crumble at any moment if you don’t have a sense of commitment. So, how do you commit to your plans?

Start small. If you have never committed to a project before, I would say short-period ones might be best for you. For instance, instead of registering for a 6-months-long volunteer program as your first experience, try considering a 3-months program first. This way, it is easier for you to stick to the activities.

It is also important to think about the long-term benefits of your plans. Let’s say you choose to develop your targeted skills by joining an internship program. You won’t only gain technical skills from the tasks, but also soft skills and networks from the social environment. All of those benefits don’t have an expiration date, meaning that they can help you in many aspects of your future!

All in all, those are three steps on building your future, even in the midst of the pandemic. I know that the pandemic has been giving us a really hard time, but there is no such thing as “having no future” for young people like us. We still have plenty of time to grow our potentials to its maximum capacity by setting our goals, developing targeted skills, and committing to our plans. Remember to invest as much time as you need during the process, and good luck!