How Fast Do You Change Your Clothes?

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

Trendy, chic, and easy-to-wear describe the fast-fashion industry really well. In some countries, fast-fashion stores sell relatively cheap clothing pieces while at the same time they’re still considered as the trend-setter in the fashion industry. How do they sell so much stuff at once yet manage to sell them at such low prices? One of the secrets behind their success lies in creating and delivering their products to us, their customers. Ever heard about the global supply chain?

Basically, a global supply chain is a network of organizations and processes where several corporations–this includes suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and even retailers–collaborate as one chain, doing production process to distribution, until the products reach the hands of the consumers (Ivanov et al., 2017). The point of this supply chain thing is to provide consumers with the products they want of good quality FAST, following the fast-changing trends. Companies even have a system for tracking the trend and use the services of forecasting companies all over the world to search for new trends or ideas (Matic & Vabale, 2015). Anyway the point of this article is not about the global supply chain. I want you to learn about the wicked side of the fast fashion industry, especially about greenwashing. But before that, let’s discuss how badly impactful the fast fashion industry is to understand why greenwashing exists!

First, it is no secret that the fast-fashion industry pollutes a lot. To create cheap products, they tend to use inexpensive materials. The polyester they use is obtained from fossil fuels, contributing to global warming. At the same time, the cheap textile dyes are toxic and harmful and pollute our clean water (Rauturier, 2021). Don’t forget, this is fast fashion, which means the longevity of clothes is also fast, causing the increasing number of cloth waste every year. Did you know that fast-fashion contributes BIG to textile waste? In the fashion industry, textile wastes are divided into two categories: pre-consumers, including cut clothes which could no longer be used in the production process, and post-consumers, when the owner of the clothes throw them away when they feel like their clothes are outdated, too small, or torn.  

Second, not only does it harm the environment, but there’s also the human cost of its production. To cut the production cost, companies usually go to lower to middle-income countries like Bangladesh in Southeast Asia and Chad in Central Africa while searching for cheap labor. Companies make contracts with the workers to supply the products they sell, but those workers are underpaid and don’t have their rights protected while working in a dangerous environment (Rauturier, 2021). Sometimes even they employ underage workers. Whether the big guys in the company know that those workers are working under illegal conditions or not, they’re responsible for not paying attention to it. 

Sure, these days, companies are more aware of the sustainability of their products regarding the growing value of sustainable development globally. The definition of sustainable development itself ranges depending on who you ask. However, its essence emerges from the concept of Triple Bottom Line, implying the balance between three pillars of sustainability: environmental, social, and economic sustainability (Klarin, 2018). However, it is sad to see that most companies working in fast-fashion industries only focus on the environment, and even that is not enough.

If you look closely at the tags of the clothing pieces, sometimes companies put ‘eco-friendly’ signs. Maybe it’s written like ‘made from recycled materials‘ or ‘sustainable production,’ but are those products really eco-friendly? How many percent of their products are produced using recycled materials? And how much recycled materials do they really use in a single piece of clothing? Such eco-friendly tags are what we call greenwashing. According to Greenpeace, greenwashing attempts to form any public or consumer opinion into thinking that their products are environmentally friendly. It pushes the buyers into thinking that by purchasing their products, they are contributing to the planet’s well-being, too. 

Maybe some of you reading this article have just bought things from the fast-fashion industry last weekend and think ‘oops i just did something bad, didn’t I?’ or ‘did I just get myself greenwashed?’, it’s fine though, I wouldn’t blame you if those eco-friendly slogans got you before. But from now on, I want you to do your research before going shopping. It’s not hard to find information regarding your favorite shops on the internet. Better, you can search for a real environmentally friendly brand to shop for in the future, stores focusing on giving real impact to the environment instead of putting the word ‘green’ everywhere while in fact, they are not. 

Don’t worry too much about the clothes you just bought. It is called fast fashion because the trends keep on changing, and people are competing to be the first to lay their hands on the products. You can change that habit by not throwing your clothes after only a couple of uses. Old clothes can look good if you know how to style them, you know, vintage

Seriously, though, mixing and matching your old clothes could be a fun thing to do to spend your time. If you need some refreshment, you can go to thrift stores and find some magic hidden in their pile of used garments. One piece of clothing can be used several times to make different styles. Like a blazer, you can wear it formally if you match it with a shirt and skirt or cloth pants with belt, necklace, and a clutch bag as accessories, but you can also wear a blazer on top of a t-shirt and shorts, and match it with sneakers to make it casual, depending on what look do you want to present at the moment. Fun, right! I see you’ve already started imagining what you can do with your old clothes now, so I’ll leave you here, bye!

Reference

​​Ivanov, Dmitry et al. (2017). Global Supply Chain and Operations Management: a Decision-Oriented Introduction to the Creation of Value. Switzerland: Springer.

Klarin, T. (2018). The Concept of Sustainable Development: From its Beginning to the Contemporary Issues. Zagreb International Review of Economics and Business21(1):67-94. DOI:10.2478/zireb-2018-0005

Matic, M. & Vita Vabale. (2015). Understanding internationalization patterns of Zara. Master’s Thesis, Department of Business Management, Aalborg, Denmark: Aalborg University. 

Rauturier, S. (2021). What Is Fast Fashion and Why Is It So Bad?. Good on You. Retrieved from https://goodonyou.eco/what-is-fast-fashion/

Travel Better, Enjoy A Whole Lot More

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

There is no better occasion than today to think about our ongoing crisis of climate change and learn how we can invest more in our planet. The 2022 Earth Day movement focuses on the collaborative effort by businesses, governments, organizations, and every one of us to take accountability in protecting our beloved Mother Earth. One of the major events this year is the Great Global Cleanup, a worldwide campaign initiated by individuals and communities to reduce trash pollution in beaches, parks, and other public places. Now, speaking of those cleanups, we all know Indonesia is beginning to relax some travel restrictions, and as wonderful as it sounds for our economy, there is still one thing we need to be careful of. Trashy tourism. What is that? Well, let’s just say… trash + tourism = disaster for all involved. 

Some Announcement First…

Before we get into this, make sure to check out our online campaign following last month’s Water Day Event on our Instagram page @project.child. You can also directly donate through Campaign.com on the link below. Every fun challenge you finish will be converted into donations by our amazing sponsors! 

https://www.campaign.com/challenge/id/save-the-groundwater-with-healthy-lifestyle

Alright, now let’s focus back on trashy tourism. 

The Dark Secret Behind The Tourism Industry

Tourism is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It represents 8% of global greenhouse gases emission and contributes up to 40% of marine trash during the high season. When we think of mass tourism, we think of overconsumption. People tend to carelessly ignore their surroundings as they only think of themselves and their holiday. Because of this ‘visitor’ mindset, tourists can produce up to twice as much waste as residents, causing an overflow on landfills and sewage plants. The improper disposal of trash and toxic chemicals from overcrowded hotels and restaurants also escalates the issue further where those businesses only care for commercial success and not the environment. 

This problem surges higher than before as tourism becomes more accessible over the years. Take Bali as an example. Everyone can now easily book a hotel and hop on a plane to Bali. With how easy travel has become, people begin to develop a disposable society approach where it’s also easy for them to just toss their plastic bottles into the ocean and forget about it. 

More people need to realize that Bali is not just a travel destination with pretty beaches and exotic forests. Bali is also a home to millions of people and wildlife whose lives are affected by this growing waste pollution. You might say, “Hey, but Balinese people also contribute to their own waste!” Yes, but not as severe. Data reveals tourists are responsible for 1,7 kg of trash per day compared to the locals of only 0,5 kg per day. Basically, we’re in somebody’s home, and we’re trashing it. Shouldn’t we be ashamed? So, how can we do better?

The answer is actually already right in front of our eyes. 

The tourism industry itself IS the answer. As a traveler, we can be part of the solution. We, along with the leaders and businesses in the industry, are the ones who can build awareness around the issues and spur waste infrastructure improvements. Progressing with the recovery of the pandemic, the tourism industry has the opportunity to start things fresh and choose a more sustainable path forward. If we want to preserve the beauty of the places we enjoy, we must care for them as if they’re our own homes. 

Change The Way We Travel

The word sustainability has been going around in recent years, and we can also apply it in our travels. According to the Three Pillars of Sustainability, this new tourism approach is all about balancing environmental health, local economic growth, and human and animal welfare. With just a small action today, we can start a chain reaction for long-time impacts for our future generations. Here are a few things we can do easily and affordably to minimize tourism’s negative effects:

  1. Save Energy

Public areas, hotels, parks, and restaurants all rely on a lot of energy to operate. Excessive electricity and intensive water use can significantly strain local water and energy supplies. Tourists often consume more water and energy per day because they thought, “I pay for this. I can use it as much as I want.” Please don’t be one of those selfish people. When leaving your hotel, turn off the AC and lamps. Take a shower occasionally instead of baths and reuse your towels to prevent unnecessary laundering. 

  1. Support The Locals

Many communities are suffering from the pandemic. You can help them bounce back by trying community-based tourism! Stay in locally-owned homestays rather than international hotel chains. Try out traditional dishes made with native ingredients and explore local markets and shops. These local businesses care more about the environment and the neighborhood because they are part of it. You can also use this opportunity to learn about the culture and traditions of that place. 

  1. Be Responsible 

If you’re going on any wildlife tours, avoid those who are unethical and profit-focused. That means if you’re allowed to ride those animals or be in a close encounter with endangered species, you might want to consider that as a bad sign. The same way goes for snorkeling and scuba diving. Always be careful to stay away from areas with a fragile coral ecosystem, avoid overcrowding, and wear reef-friendly equipment. Enjoying wildlife is one of the highlights of traveling, but make sure you’re not disturbing their natural habitats.

Do all of those things above, and you can enjoy your vacation with a better and healthier mindset! Earth Day today reminds us that every one of us is responsible for the difference we want to make for our future. We need to urge industry leaders and companies to improve sustainable tourism and protect the environment. Our choices, social actions, and personal awareness all play a part in achieving that. After all, we still want to see those pretty beaches and exotic forests for a long time, right? Then we have to make sure they won’t be destroyed by our very hands. 

References

Earth Day 2022. (2022). Earth Day. Retrieved from https://www.earthday.org/

Earth Day 2022: Theme, Facts, Latest Events, and Celebrations. (2022). Earth Reminder.  Retrieved from https://www.earthreminder.com/earth-day-2022-theme-facts-events-celebrations/

KaitlynBra. (2021, March 9). Top 10 Tips for Sustainable Travel. Sustainable Travel International. Retrieved from https://sustainabletravel.org/top-10-tips-for-sustainable-travel/

Marchant, C. (2019, March 26). What is sustainable travel? (And how to be a sustainable traveller). Charlie on Travel. Retrieved from https://charlieontravel.com/what-is-sustainable-travel/

Zero trash tourism: how to generate less waste while we travel?. (n.d.). My Waste. Retrieved from https://meuresiduo.com/en/blog-en/zero-trash-tourism-how-to-generate-less-waste-while-we-travel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=zero-trash-tourism-how-to-generate-less-waste-while-we-travel

Siddharta, A. T. (2019, October 14). Bali fights for its beautiful beaches by rethinking waste, plastic trash. National Geographic. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/bali-fights-for-its-beautiful-beaches-by-rethinking-waste-plastic-trash

Mengenal Warisan Sosial Dalam Menjaga Budaya Bangsa

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

Sering jalan-jalan ke mall dan kafe hits, tapi kok nggak pernah mengunjungi situs warisan budaya kita yang nggak kalah kerennya itu? Tapi ngapain cuma liat bangunan sama batu-batuan? Eits, jangan salah! Mengunjungi situs budaya bukan hanya untuk hiburan semata, apalagi cuma liat bangunan doang, tapi juga memberikan kesempatan untuk kita bisa mengenal lebih dalam tentang sejarah Indonesia dan makna budaya yang tersimpan di baliknya. 

18 April hari ini adalah perayaan Hari Warisan Dunia. Sejak peresmiannya pada tahun 1983 oleh UNESCO, Hari Warisan Dunia bertujuan untuk membangun kesadaran tentang keberagaman warisan budaya, kerentanan situs, dan usaha yang diperlukan untuk melindungi dan melestarikannya. Hal yang dapat kita lakukan untuk merayakan hari ini antara lain adalah mengunjungi monumen bersejarah (yang legal dan bertanggung jawab, ya), memperdalam ilmu dengan membaca buku sejarah, menghadiri konferensi yang membahas isu tersebut, atau sekadar browsing di Google untuk mencari tahu tentang warisan Indonesia yang sangat kaya dan beragam ini. 

Isu pelestarian budaya sudah menjadi amanat bangsa sejak dulu kala dan terus berjalan seiringan dengan upaya kemanusiaan melindungi sejarah. Budaya sendiri memiliki arti dan makna yang luas. Budaya bisa mencakup tradisi, moral, keyakinan, seni, struktur, dan juga nilai-nilai yang hidup di tengah masyarakat. Nilai-nilai tersebut juga merupakan bagian dari warisan budaya lho, atau lebih tepatnya disebut warisan sosial. Jadi, bukan hanya situs-situs bersejarah saja yang harus dijaga, namun juga nilai dan norma yang membentuk identitas kita sebagai sebuah bangsa.

Esensi dari warisan budaya tidak terletak pada manifestasi budaya itu sendiri, namun dalam kekayaan hikmah dan ajaran yang diturunkan dari nenek moyang. Percuma kalau kita meresmikan suatu situs budaya baru kalau ujung-ujungnya pengunjung masih menyampah di sana. Atau pergi ke tempat suci dan asik foto-foto tanpa memedulikan larangan setempat karena merasa bukan agamanya. Alhasil, nilai cinta lingkungan dan toleransi malah terabaikan. Inilah pentingnya untuk tidak melupakan warisan sosial dari nenek moyang yang telah berjuang keras mempertahankan nilai-nilai tersebut. Sama seperti pahlawan kita mempertahankan tanah air dari penjajah, nenek moyang juga berjerih payah mempertahankan budaya leluhur agar tidak punah. 

Era globalisasi dan revolusi industri yang sedang kita hadapi ini membawa banyak pengaruh ideologi dari budaya-budaya luar. Hal ini rentan memicu perubahan sosial dan berpotensi melencengkan ideologi bangsa. Salah satu resiko yang perlu diwaspadai adalah hilangnya makna asli dari budaya itu sendiri. Hal ini terjadi karena nilai-nilai sosial merupakan sebuah ‘budaya hidup’ atau budaya yang selalu bergeser sesuai kebutuhan zaman. Lantas bagaimana kita bisa menjaga dan mengelola warisan yang terus berubah ini? 

Menjaga warisan budaya harus lebih fokus dalam mentransfer dan mengkomunikasikan pengetahuan dan makna dari generasi ke generasi, dan bukan hanya sekadar fokus ke manifestasi budaya seperti menghafal lagu atau menyimpan artefak saja. Upaya menjaga nilai-nilai sebenarnya bisa dilakukan dengan mudah kok, toh kita sudah sering merasakan dan menjumpainya di kehidupan sehari-hari. Sebagai anak muda yang berpendidikan, kita harus berupaya lebih untuk mengamalkan nilai-nilai luhur agar dapat mengedukasi generasi penerus bangsa dan orang-orang yang sayangnya kurang berwawasan. 

Satu hal mudah namun berdampak besar yang kita dapat lakukan adalah menolak keras paham etnosentrisme. Sikap etnosentrisme adalah sikap yang merasa bahwa budaya daerahnya lebih tinggi dari budaya daerah lain. Orang dengan sikap ini membutakan diri terhadap indahnya budaya-budaya lain dan menimbulkan perpecahan dalam masyarakat Indonesia yang multikultural. Buang sikap ini jauh-jauh ya! Setiap budaya di Indonesia memang berbeda dan kadang nilai yang kita anut tidak sesuai dengan nilai orang lain. Namun, hal ini malah akan memperkaya budaya bangsa dan mengajarkan kita semangat toleransi. Contohnya, jika kalian baru pertama kali berwisata ke luar pulau, luangkan waktu untuk mengenal budaya lokal dan menghargai tradisi mereka. Kalian bisa belajar banyak hal baru, dan tentunya, tidak akan menimbulkan masalah dengan penduduk setempat.

Hal lainnya adalah dengan memastikan kelancaran akulturasi antara budaya lokal dan budaya asing agar berdampak positif terhadap kemajuan bangsa. Tidak dapat dihindari bahwa globalisasi akan mendatangkan banyak perspektif baru, namun dengan tetap menjunjung tinggi kearifan lokal, globalisasi dapat membuka pintu untuk kemajuan teknologi, kemudahan akses edukasi, kenaikan kesempatan kerja, dan efek positif lainnya. Kuncinya hanya satu, yaitu keseimbangan. 

Di Hari Warisan Dunia ini, kita diajak untuk lebih mengapresiasi budaya dan tradisi yang telah mendarah daging, serta mengakui pentingnya menghidupi nilai-nilai leluhur. Warisan sosial sama pentingnya dengan warisan budaya seperti monumen dan bangunan bersejarah, karena meski hal tersebut tidak berwujud, pengaruhnya terbukti tampak di kehidupan masyarakat. Melestarikan nilai budaya lokal mengajarkan kita untuk memahami posisi kita di tengah masyarakat dan bagaimana kita dapat berkontribusi untuk memperkaya budaya di masa depan. Yuk, bersama-sama ayo kita menumbuhkan rasa bangga terhadap budaya sendiri dan terus menjaganya agar bisa lestari sampai ke anak cucu. 

Referensi

Peters, N. (2020, December 22). The importance of preserving cultural and traditional values. World Citizens United. https://www.worldcitizensunited.org/the-importance-of-preserving-cultural-and-traditional-values/

Nurcahyadi, G. (2021, April 27). Hari Warisan Dunia UNESCO-Citi Indonesia Gelar Tur Borobudur. Media Indonesia. https://mediaindonesia.com/humaniora/401284/hari-warisan-dunia-unesco-citi-indonesia-gelar-tur-borobudur

Learn 10 Things Why It Is Important To Preserve Culture. (2021, April 5). The Language Doctors. https://thelanguagedoctors.org/why-it-is-important-to-preserve-culture/

How Much Do You Waste?: Counting on Your Ecological Footprint

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

Does the term ‘Ecological Footprint’ ring a bell to you? I bet it doesn’t. But I am sure some of you have heard about carbon footprints already, right? If you haven’t, let me help you: a carbon footprint refers to the number of gaseous emissions emitted concerning human production and/or consumption activities (Pertsova, 2007). It measures the number of greenhouse gasses produced and their impact on the environment. Carbon footprints are one of the fastest-growing portions of the ecological footprint. In fact, it is 54% of the total ecological footprints.

Now, what is the ecological footprint? The ecological footprint is the measurement of our impact on the ecosystem. It measures the supply and demand of goods and services related to our lifestyle (Samanthi, 2011). Interestingly, this ecological footprint counts the area of land and sea needed to support human activities, including the areas required to assimilate your waste. Hey, before we proceed, I dare you to count your footprint now! These days, you can find many websites providing ways to calculate your footprint, and one of them is https://www.footprintcalculator.org/home/en.

Suppose you went through several websites to count your ecological footprint. In that case, you can see that the questions they asked are mostly related to your diet, housing, energies, trash, and transportation you used. You might think, “Ooh, those developed countries use green energies. Their ecological footprints must be smaller than ours in developing countries!” Well, guess what? Some of the highest ecological footprint producers are those industrial countries like the United States of America (USA), China, and European and Middle-East countries. In contrast, underdeveloped countries like Congo and Central African Republic relatively produce smaller footprints compared to other countries (Global Footprint Network, 2022).

However, you might still be shocked after noticing how big your ecological footprints are, right? Eventually, we are all responsible for our own lifestyle and activities, and this might be the sign for you to start reducing your footprint. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Choose your protein wisely!

The first questions asked when you count your ecological footprint are mostly about your diet and, to be more specific, your animal-based menu. You might wonder, “how does eating beef and chicken have any correlation to climate change?”, surprise surprise, did you know that one of the most prominent feeds for livestock is soybean cake? Soybean cakes are mostly produced in the USA, Brazil, and Argentina. The high demand for it drives the commodity producers to open up spaces for soybean planting. One of the fastest ways to clear up areas is through deforestation. Not only deforestation, but turning soybeans into soybean cake also requires a lot of mechanical energy that produces pollution, and don’t forget the carbon they made to deliver their products.

I know beef, chickens, and lambs all taste heavenly, and I, too, couldn’t live without them, but it’s good to reconsider our diet. There are a lot of delicious protein sources we can consider putting on our menu, like eggs. You can cook different kinds of eggs, scrambled eggs like those served in hotels? Yum. Sunny-side up with a hint of crispness on its edge? Double yum, man, I can go forever just talking about eggs! But my point is, you can eat meat, as long as you consume it responsibly. And of course, eat more veggies, duh! We thrive for a more balanced-life, alright?

  1. Consume local foods, protect small and medium business

If you’re looking for simple everyday cooking foodstuffs, shopping for imported groceries in large fancy supermarkets doesn’t necessarily guarantee you to live a healthy lifestyle. Sure, their products look pretty and… organic. Still, the carbon produced from transporting those goods is a LOT, which is not-so-friendly for the environment. If you go to your local traditional market early in the morning, you can get the same products like the ones displayed in those fancy-glamorous grocery stores at the mall, and the plus point is it’s way cheaper. If you’re not sure whether the products in the market are clean and organic enough, you can always grow them yourself, like creating a hydroponic garden and raising chickens, why not?

Anyway, this doesn’t only apply to your groceries, but your lifestyle in general. When we shop in the mall, we see clothes, bags, and shoes displayed prettily. Those are probably coming from big shops famous internationally. If you noticed, though, local brands’ stuff is just as good as theirs. Sometimes, they produce their products through local people’s empowerment, making it even better. All you have to do is scroll past your social media pages and see which local brands have their products that suit you the most!

  1. Turn the electricity off when it’s not in use

This tip might be cliché, but this one is… we can say, the basic rule of reducing our energy consumption. Anyway, believe it or not, if you turn on your lamp 24/7, your room gets hotter instead of when you turn it off during the day. It goes the same when you turn your air conditioner on all the time. The moment you turn it off, you will feel hot, but when you turn it off in the morning and open your window, your room adjusts to the temperature, so in the afternoon, you won’t feel like you’ve been put in an oven. Besides, reducing your energy consumption means reducing the electricity bill you have to pay, and voila, a win-win solution. 

Managing our ecological footprint might sound easier to read than done, and it’s okay. What is not okay is knowing that you contributed a lot to ecological waste and did not bother to bat an eye. This planet earth is not yours. It’s ours. We share it with other living beings, and each one of us deserves to live in a clean and healthy environment.

References

Global Footprint Network. (2022). Reserve/Deficit Trends. Global Footprint Network. Retrieved from https://data.footprintnetwork.org/#/ 

Pertsova, C. (2007). Ecological Economics Research Trends. New York, United States: Nova Sciences Publishers, Inc.

Samanthi. (2011). Difference Between Ecological Footprint and Carbon Footprint. DifferenceBetween. Retrieved from https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-ecological-footprint-and-vs-carbon-footprint/#:~:text=The%20key%20difference%20between%20ecological,units%20of%20carbon%20dioxide%20equivalents.

Manfaat Hewan Peliharaan untuk Pertumbuhan Anak

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

Hewan peliharaan merupakan sesuatu yang erat kaitannya dengan masa kecil, bukan? Saat berbicara tentang peliharaan, banyak orang akan teringat dengan hewan peliharaan yang dulu mereka punya. Aku sendiri termasuk orang tersebut. Sedari kecil, aku pernah merawat berbagai macam hewan, mulai dari kelinci, hamster, ikan, kura-kura, sampai sekarang aku terjebak dengan kucing.

Dari memelihara hewan-hewan ini, aku cukup belajar tentang rutinitas dan tanggung jawab. Tentu saja karena tiap harinya aku harus memberi mereka makan dan minum, menjemur atau melepasnya dari kandang, membersihkan kandang, dan mengajaknya bermain. Kelihatan kan bahwa hewan peliharaan itu bukan sekadar teman bermain atau pajangan saja, melainkan makhluk hidup yang butuh dirawat dan disayang untuk bertahan hidup. Siapa lagi yang bisa menyediakan jasa itu kalau bukan majikannya?

Nah, artikel ini hadir untuk para orang tua yang masih ragu atau bahkan enggan memberikan hewan peliharaan kepada anak. Apa yang diragukan nih? Takut mereka tidak bisa bertanggung jawab dan ujung-ujungnya kalian yang merawat hewan itu? Atau takut rumah jadi berantakan karena keberadaan makhluk kecil yang dirawat oleh makhluk kecil lainnya alias anak-anak? Tenang, banyak penelitian dan pendapat ahli yang menunjukkan bahwa hewan peliharaan memiliki manfaat untuk pertumbuhan sosial, emosional, kognitif, dan fisik anak.

Pertumbuhan sosial dan emosional

Hawkins et al. (2017) menemukan bahwa kasih sayang anak terhadap hewan peliharaan menimbulkan perasaan peduli dan kasih sayang terhadap orang lain. Anak-anak yang dekat dengan peliharaannya juga cenderung mudah berteman. Ini karena anak terbiasa menghabiskan waktu dengan peliharaan, seperti mengelus, bercengkrama, dan bermain dengannya. Banyak anak sering berbicara dengan peliharaannya, menangis di depannya saat sedih, dan menceritakan rahasia kepadanya. Mungkin terdengar aneh untuk beberapa orang, tapi kenyataannya, kebiasaan tersebut melatih anak untuk berempati dan berkomunikasi kepada orang lain. Perlu diingat, dampak positif tersebut datang dari hubungan yang dekat dengan peliharaan; kedekatan emosional anak dengan peliharaannya sangat berpengaruh dengan manfaat yang akan didapatkan. Jadi, keberadaan peliharaan secara gamblang mungkin tidak cukup untuk memengaruhi pertumbuhan sosial dan emosional anak.

Pertumbuhan kognitif

Menurut seorang profesor pendidikan, hewan dapat membantu anak untuk belajar (Strickland, 2021). Dulu, para pendidik menemukan bahwa therapy animals, terutama anjing, membantu anak berkebutuhan khusus untuk belajar. Tapi, penelitian terbaru ternyata menemukan bahwa semua anak terbantu untuk belajar dengan keberadaan hewan. Ini karena anak merasa lebih rileks di sekitar hewan dibanding manusia. Salah satu kemampuan kognitif yang dapat berkembang adalah kemampuan membaca. Dr. Moore, dekan kedokteran hewan di The Ohio State University, mengatakan, memang ada program yang mendukung anak-anak untuk membaca dihadapan kucing atau anjing. Walaupun hewan-hewan itu tidak mengerti apa-apa, kegiatan membaca ini tetap melatih kemampuan membaca dan membentuk kepercayaan diri anak (Gordon, 2021).

Kesehatan fisik

Mempunyai hewan peliharaan mengharuskan anak untuk mengajaknya bermain atau berjalan-jalan keluar rumah. Para pemilik anjing pasti tahu rasanya rutin mengajak anjing jalan-jalan atau bermain di dog park. Nah, kegiatan ini cukup melatih kesehatan fisik anak karena mereka rutin beraktivitas dengan peliharaannya. Studi dari University of London menyatakan bahwa anak dengan hewan peliharaan beraktivitas fisik lebih banyak dibanding anak yang tidak memiliki peliharaan (Halodoc, 2018).

Kerennya lagi, peliharaan juga bisa mencegah pertumbuhan alergi pada anak. Seorang dokter anak spesialis alergi dan imunologi mengatakan, mempunyai beberapa hewan peliharaan dapat mengurangi resiko pertumbuhan alergi tertentu pada anak (Strickland, 2021). Dari penelitiannya, anak-anak yang terekspos terhadap dua anjing atau kucing saat mereka bayi cenderung terhindar dari alergi-alergi umum, seperti alergi debu, tungau, bulu hewan, rumput liar, bahkan penyakit asma.

Itu dia beberapa manfaat hewan peliharaan untuk anak, mulai dari mendukung pertumbuhan sosial sampai kesehatan fisik. Tidak bisa dipungkiri bahwa memelihara hewan mungkin terlihat sulit untuk sebagian orang, terutama ketika anak-anak yang mengurusnya dan apabila sesuatu terjadi kepada peliharaan. Seperti makhluk hidup pada umumnya, hewan peliharaan juga bisa sakit dan meninggal dunia. Banyak anak menganggap peliharaannya sebagai teman atau saudara, dan mereka akan sangat terpukul saat ditinggalkan peliharaannya (Fraga, 2017). Di sinilah peran orang tua dibutuhkan untuk membantu anak melewati kesedihannya. 

Anak-anak menghadapi kesedihannya dengan cara yang berbeda. Ada yang murung, tidak mau berbicara, atau mencari distraksi dengan bermain. Alih-alih bersedih, ada juga yang merasa marah dan bersalah karena kematian peliharaannya. Peranmu adalah memvalidasi apa yang dirasakan anak dan menjelaskan bahwa perasaan tersebut normal di situasi ini. Jelaskan juga alasan di balik kematian peliharaan, misalnya sebuah penyakit atau jangka hidup yang cenderung singkat bagi hewan tertentu. Terkadang, anak juga butuh closure atas kematian peliharaan, bisa berbentuk upacara pemakaman kecil-kecilan, menanam tumbuhan di sekitar makam, atau membuat album foto untuk mengenangnya.

Maka dari itu, bantuan dan pengawasan dari orang tua sangat dibutuhkan dalam memelihara hewan. Tidak hanya dalam mengurusnya saat hidup, tapi juga dalam menuntun anak menghadapi hal buruk. Apa pun jenis hewan yang ingin dipelihara, pastikan kamu mencari tahu cara mengurus hewan itu karena masing-masing hewan membutuhkan perawatan dan gaya hidup yang berbeda. Pasti banyak hal baik yang akan datang setelah anak mahir mengurus dan semakin dekat dengan peliharaan. Dijamin kamu tidak akan menyesal membiarkan ia memeliharanya!

Referensi

Fraga, J. (2017, June 8). When a Pet Dies, Helping Children Through ‘The Worst Day of Their Lives’. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/well/family/when-a-pet-dies-helping-children-through-the-worst-day-of-their-lives.html 

Gordon, S. (2021, September 30). How Kids Benefit From Pet Ownership. Verywell Family. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-kids-benefit-from-pet-ownership-5201854 

Hawkins, R. D., Williams, J. M., & Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (2017) Childhood Attachment to Pets: Associations between Pet Attachment, Attitudes to Animals, Compassion, and Humane Behaviour. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(5), 490. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050490

Redaksi Halodoc. (2018, February 20). 6 Manfaat Punya Hewan Peliharaan untuk Anak. Retrieved from: https://www.halodoc.com/artikel/6-manfaat-punya-hewan-peliharaan-untuk-anak Strickland, B. (2021, August 30). The Benefits of Pets for Kids. Parents. Retrieved from: https://www.parents.com/parenting/pets/kids/the-benefits-of-pets/

Project Child Indonesia Received Special Recognition as Non-Profit Organization for the 2021 Digital Transformation Award

Project Child Indonesia is grateful and humbled to have received the 2021 Digital Transformation (DX) Award organized by Swiss Chamber of Commerce (Swisscham) Singapore and Deloitte. The DX Award celebrates innovation and digitization across Southeast Asia, inviting multinationals, SMEs, startups, profit and non-profit organizations, in categories including Cybersecurity, B2C, Healthcare, Insurance, Financial Services, Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Buildings & Infrastructure. Project Child Indonesia was given a special recognition prize as a Non-Profit Organization to attend the pitching night in December 2021. Facilitated by Swiss Chamber of Commerce (Swisscham) Indonesia, we attended and received the physical trophy on 29 March 2022.

The Award was given in recognition of our Online Learning Assistance Program, an adjustment of our River School program, which aims to address the challenges of distance learning for children from vulnerable communities during the pandemic. Numerous children experienced lack of parental guidance, lack of understanding on school subjects, and lack of access to proper gadgets and internet support. Although today’s children are adept at using gadgets and could adjust quicker to digital learning than parents and teachers, digital literacy and access to proper learning facilities remain low, prompting concerns of learning loss. 

The Online Learning Assistance program focuses on providing additional formal and non-formal education for children living by the river and coastal areas of Indonesia through online tutoring. With the support of our partners, namely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Indonesia and PT XL Axiata, we were able to provide 30 tablets and 3 routers respectively to be used during hybrid classes. We have conducted a total of 140 online and offline classes in 2021, assisting a total of 268 students supported by 91 volunteers as tutors. This year, the 4th batch (Batch 34) of the program is underway, supporting 90 children from Yogyakarta and Pacitan. 

We are truly grateful to Swisscham Singapore and Deloitte for recognizing our vision of supporting children in their online learning journey. We hope that with this recognition, Project Child Indonesia can further provide educational assistance to children through our Online Learning Assistance program. 

Learn more about our Online Learning Assistance Program here.

Should Parents Defend Their Children’s Wrongdoings?

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

We all know that most parents are willing to do anything to protect their child, be it from physical or emotional harm. For example, parents tend to pick the “best” school in town for their children to study in, hoping that these children will study at peace and be away from “bad” kids. However, you can’t completely control every aspect of your children’s lives, can you? It is possible that you won’t really know how your children behave at school or at other places where you can’t directly keep an eye on them. What if they cause trouble? Should you take responsibility for their wrongdoings?

Before going further into this discussion, let’s take a look at some exemplary cases of kids’ wrongdoings. A common example is bullying. It is common for bullying to happen at schools all year round. Consequently, the school often drags the parents of both the bully and the victim onto this problem to clear out the atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, the parents of the bully most likely won’t admit their child’s actions. Another popular case in Indonesia is that children tend to steal toys, sometimes expensive and rare ones, from their older cousins, but the parents refuse to consider this as a crime. They will typically tell the older cousin to forgive and forget about their toys for good.

Have you ever wondered why?

What is it with parents defending their children from wrongdoings? We could blame a psychological, cause-effect paradigm that believes children’s behavior comes from faulty parenting. According to Dr. John Rosemond (2005), this paradigm started its popularity in the 1960s. Ever since then, parents’ minds have been hypnotized by the belief that a child doesn’t have a mind of their own, thus their behavior is a direct reflection of what the parents have done or not done in raising them. This can be one of the reasons why parents tend to deny and defend their children’s wrongdoings; either they can’t accept that their children’s wrongdoing is a reflection of their parenting, or they believe these children will grow out of their current behavior once their mind is settled.

How does it affect children?

If you think defending children from their wrongdoings is a way to protect them, you are in the wrong direction. It can actually bring harm for their well-being, as they will not know what discipline is and how it works. Discipline is the practice of obeying a code of behavior, something that is used to teach children about what is right, what is wrong, and how to make things right. Without discipline, children will eventually lack important social and emotional skills (Lee, 2020).

There is a tendency that children will continue their bad behaviors that are harmful to other people as well as themselves. If this behavior continues without any corrections from the parents, how will they know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors? It can actually come back right at you. As your child drives far and further away from understanding appropriate behaviors, they will grow to be disrespectful, selfish, non-emphatical, and basically unpleasant to be around. Are you sure you want to keep defending your children regardless of their fault?

What should we do then?

You can start with a simple conversation. Correcting children’s bad behaviors isn’t always about punishment such as grounding or taking away their gadgets. Instead, take your time to truly ask them the reason behind their actions, and make sure to listen to them because the reasons may be linked to how they are feeling deep inside. Dr. Stuart Shanker (2016) wrote about managing children’s stress as a part of self-regulation. Their stress typically comes from disappointment regarding relationships, schoolwork or other purposeful activities, or having too much to do in such a short time. It can also come from other aspects such as biological, social, emotional, and cognitive aspects. Once you know what triggers them to do such behaviors, you can slowly find ways to reduce or avoid those triggers and build strategy with your children for when they encounter their stressors again.

Another thing you can do is by explaining the consequences of their behaviors. For example, if they vandalized the neighbor’s front door, this neighbor will spend hours cleaning the mess or even have to replace the door. Ask them whether or not your child would be happy if they had to go through the same thing. When you’re talking about consequences, also teach them to take responsibility for their actions, such as making amends and helping the neighbor clean the door. This way, you teach them about the right and wrong behaviors, and how to correct the wrong ones.

Once you and your little ones have set the same perspective, it’s important to also start appreciating their good behavior. You don’t want them to think misbehavior is the only way to catch your attention, do you? Deep in our hearts, we know that kids sometimes misbehave just to get our attention, so maybe it’s time to show them that good behavior is the right way to your heart! You can praise them for the little things they do, perhaps when they are being nice to their siblings or when they go to bed on time. This can encourage them to continue behaving properly as they know that they’ve got your attention as well as your praise. 

To put it briefly, you shouldn’t let your kids get away with bad behaviors. Not only does it harm other people, but it also directly impacts your children negatively. They will someday grow up into teenagers and adolescents, so it’s best to stop defending your children and start stimulating their logic and empathy to prepare them as an individual of their own. A simple conversation and appreciation for what they do are only some ways towards correcting your children’s behavior. You can always explore your own ways, be creative, and do what’s best for your family! Learn more about children and parenting at our website.

References

Lee, K. (2020, October 1). Surprising Reasons Why We Need to Discipline Children. Verywell Family. https://www.verywellfamily.com/surprising-reasons-why-we-need-to-discipline-children-620115 

Rosemond, J. (2005, April 18). Defending Kids’ Bad Behavior. The Buffalo News. https://buffalonews.com/news/defending-kids-bad-behavior/article_eea6ddba-591b-5189-b13c-216c2f8d5ad1.html 

Shanker, S. (2016, August 22). Five Ways to Help Miss Behaving Kids. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/five_ways_to_help_misbehaving_kids 

What’s the Best Way to Discipline My Child?. (2018, November 5). Healthy Children. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Disciplining-Your-Child.aspx