Cancelling Cancel Culture

By Arlenea Halyda, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Exile is a punishment that has been around for as long as human history stands. It’s a sentence that’s considered to be an alternative to death; to be tossed away from one’s home, stripped of any titles, and isolated from family and friends must feel like one’s life is over, as their presence vanishes from the world.

In this day and age, where so many of our social lives and interactions rely on social media (thus creating a sense of belonging to said social media), there’s a technique used to repent those deemed controversial. It’s eerily similar to exile: being ‘cancelled.’ But what does being cancelled mean? And what is this ‘cancel culture’ that seems to have spread throughout the internet?

Cancel culture is a modern and digitized version of banishment, in which someone is forced out of social circles and urged to abandon their online presence (in other words: deactivates their account) for doing or saying harmful things. The notion of this culture is rooted in promoting accountability for one’s irresponsible actions and silencing someone who is deemed not to deserve a voice.

At first, ‘cancel culture’ seems like a great solution to deal with bigoted individuals. For far too long, marginalized groups have been oppressed by careless people who wouldn’t get any consequences for their hurtful actions, whether it’s due to the protection of their privilege or other things—so it’s good that there’s now an internet ‘law’ that would snipe bigots when they step out of line, right?

Well… To a certain extent, yes. However, there’s a lot more to cancel culture than meets the eye. Turns out, cancel culture is not the panacea people thought it was.

Holding people accountable for their wrongdoings is incredibly important, and it’s time for us to stand up against hatred and discrimination; yes, there’s no doubt about that. On the other hand, cancel culture has morphed into something else entirely. It has created such a dangerous environment in which forgiveness and redemption are impossible, and harassment is accepted (as long as they’re against awful people, right? But doesn’t harassing people, no matter who they are, is also a form of bullying?). And if anyone dares to spare forgiveness to the people who are being cancelled, or even give them a chance to explain themselves, be careful! You might get cancelled too.

Not to mention that there are some instances where people who are being cancelled were someone who genuinely doesn’t know any better. They don’t mean any harm—maybe they just said the wrong thing, or perhaps they just weren’t educated in complex social issues and are voicing their concern, only to be taken out of context and be attacked. It doesn’t mean that these people should be given a free pass because they don’t know any better, but they deserve a chance to educate themselves and correct their mistakes. But ‘cancel culture’ doesn’t give them this opportunity. All it does is shun these people out without giving them room to grow, which only spreads more and more hate.

This sort of mindset is incredibly destructive. It perpetuates a behaviour that turns people easily swayed and influenced to join in the cancelling party without some of them even understanding the context or severity of the situation, in fear of being cancelled too.

So how do we stand up for this? How do we cancel the vicious cycle and toxicity of cancel culture?

We can start by practising compassion whenever possible and allow people to feel remorse for their actions. There’s no way to know a whole person’s life journey, so we might not understand why they have such a mindset. So we can start by treating them with kindness and holding out an olive branch of growth and forgiveness. How are they supposed to understand our point of view if we don’t give them a chance to show us theirs? Remember that there’s still a person behind a screen, with a life, a heart, and a feeling, and the things you say in a spur of a moment might haunt them for a lifetime.

In addition to that, we should also allow them to grow. Even if it’s not anyone’s obligation to educate anyone on any topic, it might be good to let them understand why their being harmful. For example, a man might not know that what he says was sexist. But women do, and that’s when we should stand up for ourselves, step in, and bring to the man’s awareness that what they said was sexist. Hopefully, they’ll listen and try to educate themselves. If they don’t, well… That brings us to another question:

How should we face harmful people who know that they harmed people, yet continue doing it anyway? How should we deal with people who refuse to grow and listen?

We can strip them away from their platform—but not in a hateful way the way cancel culture do. Let us stop giving them attention, stop giving them traffic to their social media engagement, stop giving their words so much power to stir up our reactions, and ignore them altogether.

We don’t have to be involved in malicious activity. Instead, let us direct our energy towards the people that have been hurt. Someone is being racist to indigenous people? Instead of cancelling them, we can go out of our way to support indigenous people by spreading awareness of their existence and resilience, and appreciate their culture (don’t do cultural appropriation, though). Someone is being ableist to people with disabilities? Instead of hurling vile words, we can raise awareness of said disability, or support their causes and campaigns, or even donate to their foundation, if there’s any.

Basically, this article boils down to this: instead of doing the performative activities that we call ‘cancelling’ someone, it’s better for us to actually take action and do good things for people the ‘cancelled’ person is hurting. Because your hate tweets, your #[Celebrity’s Name]IsOverParty trends… They only last a couple of weeks or months before they’re swept under the rug and forgotten. But support and love to communities that deserve our energy will go a long way.

Let us create an environment free of hate!

References

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/02/style/what-is-cancel-culture.html

[2] https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/cancel-culture-words-were-watching

[3] https://www.newstatesman.com/science-tech/2020/07/cancel-culture-does-not-exist

[4] https://www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/article/cancel-culture-toxic-for-mental-health

[5] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-mind/202103/why-cancel-culture-anyone-is-harmful-and-wrong 

[6] https://theseahawk.org/30325/thelatest/opinion-cancel-culture-is-toxic-and-does-more-harm-than-good/

[7] https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/12/30/20879720/what-is-cancel-culture-explained-history-debate

[8] https://nypost.com/article/what-is-cancel-culture-breaking-down-the-toxic-online-trend/

Malala Yousafzai, The Youngest Nobel Prize Laureate

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

Lately, we heard the news that Taliban have taken control of Afghanistan again. By that moment I remembered a story of the little girl who got shot by the Taliban on the way back home from her school. Her name is Malala Yousafzai, an activist who fights for the education of women, and children, also the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. 

Malala Yousafzi was born July 12, 1997 in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. She is the daughter of Ziauddin Yousafzai and Tor Pekai Yousafzai.  She was born into a lower-middle-class household, although she was well-educated, thanks in large part to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, a poet, school owner, and educational activist who runs the private schools known as the Khushal Public School. She previously stated that she wanted to be a doctor, but her father urged her to pursue a career in politics instead. Her father even made an exception for Malala. He allowed her to stay up late at night and talk about politics, due to Ziauddin thinking that Malala is entirely special.

Aamer Ahmed Khan of the BBC Urdu website and his colleagues devised an innovative method of documenting the Pakistani Taliban’s expanding power in Swat in late 2008. They decided to ask the help of a student to blog anonymously about her experiences at the school. Abdul Hai Kakar, their correspondent in Peshawar, had been in contact with Ziauddin Yousafzai, but had been unable to locate any kids willing to report because their families deemed it too dangerous. Finally, Ziauddin suggested Malala, his 11-year-old daughter. The BBC editors insisted on Yousafzai using an alias because they were frightened for her safety.

Many people began to notice Malala. Desmond Tutu, an activist, nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize, and she conducted interviews in print and on television. Moreover, a journalist named Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. Due to the world starting to recognise Malala, the dangers facing her increased. 

After taking an exam on October 9, 2012, Malala and two other girls were shot in an assassination attempt in Pakistan by a Taliban gunman in retaliation for her activism. Malala was shot in the head and remained unconscious. She was in critical condition in the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, but her health improved enough because she was transported to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Yousafzai became a prominent activist for the right to education after her recovery. She co-founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization, with Shiza Shahid in Birmingham, and co-authored I Am Malala, an autobiography about Malala Yousafzi, in 2013. She achieved a lot of awards due to her inspirational life. She was also the most influential youth at that time. The biggest achievement given to her was the Nobel Prize at the time she was 17. She is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.

From Malala Yousafzi, we can learn that there is no word such as “You are too young for this”. She fights in her peace way, by fighting for education and women rights. We are still young, we can learn more and be creative to create a better world in the future. You can fight for the others who need it the most. Now, it’s time for us to join her in action. Malala has done her part, then how about you? 

All Things You Should Know about “The Peace Bell”

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

International Peace Day, or well known as World Peace day is an event held annually on 21st September, designated by the United Nation. This event is dedicated to world peace, and especially the absence of war and violence. First celebrated in 1981, and until now has kept many nations together to remember the importance of peace. To celebrate this day, there is a tradition to ring a bell called “The Peace Bell”, which is displayed in front of the Secretariat Building at New York’s UN headquarters.

This bell was donated by the United Nation Association of Japan in 1954 and created by Chiyoji Nakagawa, an executive member of the United Nations Association of Japan. This bell was successfully created with the support of Benjamin Cohen, U.N. Deputy Director-General. 

Source: UN Photo/Manuel Elías

Nakagawa, who has experienced World War II by being a Japanese military soldier, has faced the most traumatic experiences in his life and this makes him decide to commit to peace for his life. In order to pursue his mission for world peace, he collected coins from 65 countries and was also given nine gold coins from Pope Pius XII when he traveled to the 6th UN General Assembly in Paris in 1951, to create this bell where Japan submitted its first application to join the United Nations. With the total amount of coins at 112.5 kg, he made an enormous bell, three feet tall and weighing 256 pounds. Inscribed on the bell eight Kanji letters “世界絶対平和萬歳 (sekai zettai heiwa banzai)” that contain the message, “Long live absolute world peace” and the sweet point of the bell, where a wooden hammer strikes, was decorated with a laurel leaf, a sign of peace and protection. 

It is traditionally rung only twice a year. The bell will ring on the first day of Spring, to symbolize nature’s harmony and to reaffirm the world’s commitment to peace and environmental stewardship. Then, exactly six months later, on September 21st, to commemorate the International Day of Peace. When the bell rings, it is intended to send a message to all of humanity: “Peace is priceless. It is insufficient to wish for peace. Peace demands hard work – long, hard, difficult work.”

Nowadays, peace is not only shown in the absence of war and violence. For now generation, we are facing another form of war, such as hatred, refusal of others, discrimination. This form is just a tiny part of modern war because if we look on a bigger scale, we also still fight with lower education, lack of literacy, and so on. With the presence of the peace bell and the commemoration of this worldwide day, it is the time for us to fight against the various forms of modern war. 

References

LA Public Library. 2016. World Peace Bell Rings Out Message for Peace. Retrieved from 

https://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/world-peace-bell-rings-out-message-peace

UN Peace Bell. Retrieved from https://peace-bell.com/pb_e/

United Nations. International Peace Day. Retrieved from 

https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-day-peace

Getting to Know Palang Merah Indonesia

By Arlenea Halyda, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Palang Merah, or internationally known as Red Cross, is an organization that most of us have heard of, whether from a public advertisement or online awareness campaigns. But who are they, exactly, and what is their role in Indonesian society? Let’s get to know them so we can appreciate them better on this Palang Merah Indonesia Day!

Palang Merah Indonesia is a humanitarian organization under the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The establishment of Palang Merah Indonesia was ordered by President Sukarno himself when he saw many Indonesian soldiers and allies alike were wounded from an ongoing battle on September 3rd, 1945. Two weeks after the order, and exactly one month after Indonesia declared independence, Palang Merah Indonesia was officially created on September 17th, 1945 (happy seventy-sixth birthday, Palang Merah Indonesia!). But it wasn’t until 1959 that Palang Merah Indonesia achieved its legal status through Presidential Decree Number 25.

However, since there are no more battles, what do Palang Merah Indonesia sought out to do now?

Many things! Palang Merah Indonesia’s main objectives are to help elevate vulnerable communities’ lives and aid those in need. The ways in which they aim to reach these objectives vary, depending on which areas they operate in. Since its inception in 1945, Palang Merah Indonesia has been reinforcing several programs in disaster management, community health and welfare, and organizational development.

Due to Indonesia’s nature that’s prone to natural calamities (such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and landslides), Palang Merah Indonesia put disaster management as the top priority. Palang Merah Indonesia often held training to prepare citizens who live in vulnerable areas to face natural disasters and conflicts to be ready in times of urgency and hopefully be able to reduce the number of victims. Not only that, but Palang Merah Indonesia also understands how vital logistics, information systems, and safe warehousing are in emergencies, and they often educate citizens on those topics as well.

Beside disaster management, Palang Merah Indonesia strives to improve community health and social welfare in numerous aspects. Palang Merah Indonesia implemented a program that revolves around health and sanitation in six targeted regions through an approach called Pertolongan Pertama Berbasis Masyarakat (Community Based First Aid) and making clean water accessible in those regions. Social welfare initiatives are also active alongside the sanitation program, offering support to the elderly and providing blood transfusion unit service throughout the country.

Moreover, Palang Merah Indonesia is also aware of the national society’s need to strengthen its branch level capacity to assure that communication with the local government stays constructive and productive. Due to this, Palang Merah Indonesia assists their branches and chapters scattered throughout Indonesia to improve their functionality by holding management and program development workshops.

Through these endeavors, it’s apparent that Palang Merah Indonesia has impacted our society positively. Not only raising awareness to the public, they also help thousands of families and youths all across Indonesia. Palang Merah Indonesia also holds importance on public relations and communications, seeing as they lead Indonesian citizens in using their social media and technology for disaster awareness and prevention. Also, did you know that Palang Merah Indonesia succeeded in recruiting a total of 945,243 people to contribute to Palang Merah Indonesia’s Volunteer Corps and as individual and blood donor volunteers back in 2013? This number is recorded as the highest number of volunteers in the world! What a noble achievement.

Happy Palang Merah Indonesia Day, everyone! Hopefully, this article brings you awareness of how incredible this organization is, and who knows—maybe it can inspire you to be involved in their cause!

References

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20131014173816/http://www.pmi.or.id/ina/news/?act=detail&p_id=1016 

[2] https://www.redcross.org/about-us/who-we-are/history/global-red-cross-network.html 

[3] https://www.redcross.org/content/dam/redcross/delta/fy18_impact_summary_vf2.pdf 

[4] https://www.rcrc-resilience-southeastasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/FINAL_NS-Profile_Indonesia_January-22-2016.pdf 

A Simple Tutorial to Turn Our World Into a Better Place

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

Well, as casual civilians, with all of our limitations, we do not have many options or let alone significant power to create a sudden, massive change to the bigger scope of humanity. Nevertheless, like the spirit that we all shall uphold highly, there must always be things, the simple ones, that we can do to fill the holes of universal madness with the paradigm and practice of positivity.

So, here’s a simple tutorial that you can do anywhere and anytime to embark the positive vibration from yourself to your surroundings, in hope of turning our world into a better place:

  1. Practicing Mindfulness

Everything always starts from within, doesn’t it? To affect others in a positive way, then first, you shall start by employing the same energy within yourself. By being conscious of your presence, emotions, as well as feelings at the very present moment, you might get rid of any negativity from judgmental thoughts to fears. Some might put effort to reach mindfulness through meditation or praying, while others do it by writing journals. You can do whatever method that resonates better with your soul’s needs, because they vary between people.

  1. Building a good relationship

The root of war and conflicts lies in the significant failure to understand the complexities between a party and the other, as well as the absence of respect. Thus, understanding, in addition to compassion, is very much needed as a foundation to pursue better relationships between human beings. The key is to respect the differences and find the middle ground! It might sound very simple, but often, it’s not.

Beyond family and friends, a good, respectful relationships should also be utilized between those beyond your own circles; perhaps, starting by managing a good relationship with your own neighbor would be awesome – as in modern world, the urge and awareness to create a good relationship with your own neighborhood pals has declined sharply, especially for those who live in urban areas. ‘Smiling’ and ‘greeting’ (just the simple one) would be a good start!  

  1. Involved in community service

Last but not least, being involved in community service would also gain you a new perspective outside your own bubble. Realizing that how many crucial basic needs like food, education, housings, etc are not distributed fairly to all parts of the community, might draw some to the urge to help and empower those who are less fortunate. The experience in other communities, would give you an “enlightenment” on how our world truly works and how diverse human beings are.

Departing from this spirit, every year, Project Child Indonesia opens an opportunity for anyone to join the volunteer program. By focusing on the field of practical health, environment and disaster education, holistic learning experience, technology education, as well as volunteer engagement, PCI invites youth all across Indonesia to participate in the efforts to turn our world into a better place. You might find more information on our volunteer program at https://projectchild.ngo/volunteer/ or visit our social media (Instagram) via @project.child to find out more on our next recruitment for volunteers! We are waiting for you as we believe that “Everyone Can Do Good” ! 

Literasi dan Peran Pemuda Indonesia

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

Kata literasi kerap diartikan sebagai kemampuan menulis dan membaca. Namun, literasi yang sesungguhnya tidak sesederhana mampu membaca dan menulis, tetapi juga mampu memahami, mengevaluasi secara kritis, dan mengelola informasi yang bermanfaat. Lalu, kenapa literasi menjadi hal yang sangat penting? Hal ini dikarenakan, dengan tingginya tingkat literasi kita dapat menentukan kemajuan dan masa depan suatu bangsa. Dengan meningkatnya literasi, diharapkan suatu individu dapat berpikir secara kritis terhadap informasi yang di dapat, dan mampu memilah mana informasi yang benar atau hoaks. Bahkan, untuk meningkatkan kesadaran akan pentingnya kemampuan literasi, UNESCO menetapkan International Literacy Day atau Hari Literasi Internasional setiap tanggal 8 September dengan tujuan untuk untuk menyoroti pentingnya literasi bagi individu, komunitas, dan masyarakat.

Ada enam jenis literasi yang penting untuk dikuasai, yakni literasi dasar, literasi budaya, literasi numerik, literasi finansial, literasi sains, dan literasi digital. Khususnya untuk literasi digital sangat perlu ditingkatkan mengingat penggunaan teknologi yang semakin masif dan banyaknya informasi yang muncul di masa pandemi ini, sehingga penting bagi kita untuk memiliki literasi yang baik untuk menghindari hoaks dan kejahatan siber.

Tingkat Literasi Indonesia dan Maraknya Hoaks

Hal yang sangat disayangkan bahwa tingkat literasi Indonesia masih sangat rendah. Menurut survei KataData Insight Center (KIC) yang bekerjasama dengan Kementerian Komunikasi dan Informatika, indeks literasi digital di 34 provinsi belum mencapai level “baik”. Tidak hanya itu, menurut data terbaru UNESCO menyebutkan Indonesia ada pada urutan kedua dari bawah soal literasi dunia, yang artinya minat baca masyarakat sangat rendah. Menurut data UNESCO, minat baca masyarakat Indonesia sangat memprihatinkan, hanya 0,001%. Artinya, dari 1,000 orang Indonesia, hanya 1 orang yang rajin membaca.

Tingkat literasi yang rendah membuat kita harus menghadapi tantangan baru, yaitu melawan hoaks. Hal ini mungkin terlihat sepele, tapi memiliki efek yang sangat besar. Tidak terhitung jumlahnya berita hoaks yang menyebar cepat saat ini yang telah menjerumuskan banyak orang kepada informasi atau tindakan yang tidak benar. Survei KCI menunjukkan, setidaknya 30%-60% masyarakat Indonesia terpapar hoaks saat mengakses internet, dan hanya 21%-36% saja yang mampu mengenali hoaks. Dengan literasi digital yang baik, kita mampu membantah atau mencari lebih dalam terhadap suatu informasi dengan tidak menelan berita bulat-bulat.

Peran Pemuda

Pemuda merupakan salah satu golongan yang paling sering mengakses internet. Sebagai agent of change, kita tidak hanya diminta untuk mampu memiliki literasi yang baik, tetapi juga diharapkan untuk dapat membantu orang lain dalam menghindari hoaks terutama pada kalangan yang lebih tua. Tidak hanya meningkatkan kesadaran pada diri sendiri, namun juga pada sekitar. Berikut hal-hal yang bisa kamu lakukan sebagai pemuda untuk meningkatkan literasi dan menghindari hoaks;

  1. Banyak membaca. Membaca, tidak dalam artian sekedar membaca loh, ya. Yang dimaksud dengan banyak membaca ini juga termasuk memahami dan mengkritisi suatu informasi, baik itu berita, buku non-fiksi, maupun buku fiksi. Kemampuan mengolah informasi inilah yang akan meningkatkan pemikiran kritis pada teman-teman.  Tidak perlu menargetkan pada hal yang besar sekaligus seperti menyelesaikan satu buku setiap minggunya. Kita dapat memulai dari hal kecil terlebih dahulu, seperti membaca satu artikel setiap hari. 
  2. Membaca berita hingga selesai. Kebanyakan dari kita hanya membaca judul berita saja dan langsung menyebarkan berita tersebut tanpa membaca terlebih dahulu. Membaca berita hingga selesai dapat membuat kita lebih menyadari mengenai keakuratan suatu berita atau informasi tersebut. 
  3. Memastikan keaslian sumber berita. Mengecek keaslian informasi terlebih pada pesan-pesan berantai di media sosial, dapat membuat kita terhindar dari hoaks. Memastikan media yang mengeluarkan informasi merupakan media resmi yang dapat dipercaya, mencari keakuratan informasi dengan membandingkan satu berita dengan berita yang lainnya. Dengan cara ini, diharapkan kita bisa menjadi lebih kritis terhadap suatu informasi yang beredar.

Cara di atas merupakan sebagian kecil dari hal-hal yang dapat kita lakukan untuk meningkatkan literasi. Dalam upaya yang kita lakukan untuk meningkatkan literasi, ada satu hal lagi yang juga penting untuk dilakukan, yaitu dare to speak up. Setelah memastikan suatu informasi merupakan hoaks, beranikan diri untuk memberi edukasi pada mereka yang telah terpapar hoaks. Kebanyakan mereka yang telah terpapar hoaks (dan mempercayai dengan pasti informasi yang didapatkan itu adalah informasi yang benar) menolak untuk mempercayai dan mendengarkan informasi yang benar. Inilah tugas kita sebagai pemuda, untuk memberi edukasi dengan bahasa yang sederhana dan santun. 

“Cara terbaik untuk meningkatkan kualitas karakter, kompetensi dan kesejahteraan hidup seseorang adalah dengan menanamkan budaya literasi (membaca-berpikir-menulis-berkreasi)” — Lenang Manggala, Pendiri Gerakan Menulis Buku Indonesia.

Sering dibilang, buku merupakan jendela dunia. Namun, satu buku belum cukup untukmu merasakan dunia. Setelah mengetahui pentingnya literasi, yuk bersama-sama kita budayakan membaca!

References

KataData Insight Center. 2020. Status Literasi Digital Indonesia. Retrieved from

https://katadata-s3-public.s3.ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/media/kic/kominfo/Status%20Literasi%20Digital_Nasional.pdf

Devita, Evega. 2017. TEKNOLOGI Masyarakat Indonesia: Malas Baca Tapi Cerewet di Medsos. Retrieved From

https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/10862/teknologi-masyarakat-indonesia-malas-baca-tapi-cerewet-di-medsos/0/sorotan_media

UNESCO. 2021. International Literacy Day. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/literacyday

Celebrating Sharing: A Glimpse to The Lives of Mother Teresa

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

Some might suppose that Mother Theresa was born in India, as her charities and humanitarian actions are profound to be revolved in the Asia sub-continent. While in fact, not many know that she was actually a Southeastern European, born in Skopje, Ottoman Empire (present-day North Macedonia) on August 26th, 1910. The last daughter of Nikole Bojaxhiu, an Albanian businessman, with Dranafile Bojaxhiu, was initially named as ‘Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu’ (Gonxha means “rosebud” or “little flowers” in Albanian). After her father’s death when she was eight, the little Agnes was then raised by her mother in a catholic way of living. It was also the early phase when she was introduced to the pilgrimage as well as humanitarian life. At the age of 18, Agnes decided to leave for Ireland to join the Sister of Loreto, a congregation: a place where she adopted a novel name “Teresa” (a Spanish version of St. Theresia de Lisieux). In Loreto, Teresa had the opportunity to study English as well as sharpen her knowledge in the education field, which later allowed her for a long charity journey to the Orient side of the globe, Calcutta in India.

Within the period of post-World War II, specifically in 1948, Mother Teresa started a mission with the poor; It was the culmination of her earlier spiritual calling. In India, she changed her congregation gown with the native cotton white-colored sari marked with dark blue edges, signifying a unification with the lives of Indian women. Further, she also changed her national citizenship to Indian. She went to the slum areas and helped “the poor of the poors” whose lives were very miserable as they did not have access to the proper medical, sanitation, as well as education. Not taking too long for Mother Teresa to turn her aspirations into material reality. A year after her initial action, Mother Teresa, helped by a group of youth from India, finally founded a school in Motijhil, a district in Calcutta, where she also double-function the infrastructure as an assistance facility to provide service for the poor and the hungry. Despite this success, Mother Teresa faced a lot of challenges, including the doubt and desperation as she doesn’t have enough money, food, and water to survive – which she wrote that “made her tempted to return to the convent life” instead.

By 1950, Mother Teresa was proven to be superior to her own obstacles. She received permission from the Vatican to build her own congregation, “Missionaries for Charity”. It marks her further, bigger reach to the marginalized. She built the hospice (a health-care facility focusing on the terminally-ill patients),Kalighat Home for The Dying” where she and her team took care of those who were dying in sufferings, regardless of their religious backgrounds. “A beautiful death is (deserved) for people who lived like animals to die like angels—loved and wanted ” she once said. In the following years, Mother Teresa also expanded her humanitarian work, with the help of external fundings and massive additional personnels, to build orphanages, shelters, and healthcare facilities in other parts of India. The Missionaries for Charity also employs a more diverse focus in their providing of social infrastructure, including AIDS-centre, facilities for the disables, natural disaster victims, homeless shelter, and many more. After her death in 1997, Mother Teresa’s marks are still continuing to this day in many parts of the world, such as Venezuela, Ethiopia, and Lebanon. 

From Mother Teresa alone, in accordance with the bigger picture of International Charity Day, everyone can learn that sharing is something that shall be celebrated, regardless. It is the only action of caring that could defeat the boundaries of identities, languages, religion, and cultures – the attributes that often divide the relationship between human beings, and not rarely leading to practice of ignorance, indifference, or even hatred. It is the actions of charity and caring that could speak louder than words, breaking those oxymoron human-constructed boundaries, to fill the further meaning of humanity itself, as well as to create a better world that is universal: not seeing “who” and “where” to be true. So, what have you done to fill your role in charity and humanity? Have you found a reflection of the charitable “Mother Teresa” within your daily life?

“Charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. The fruit of love is service, which is compassion in action” – Mother Teresa

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa, accessed at August 22, 2021

https://serudsindia.org/blog/mother-teresa-quotes-charity-helping/, accessed at August 22, 2021

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month : A Gold for The Fighters, The Survivor, and The Taken

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

Did you know that almost 400 000 children and adolescents aged 0 to 19 years old are diagnosed with cancer each year? It can be said as a great number. According to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the survival rates continue to rise every year. More than 80% of children with cancer are cured in high-income nations, where comprehensive services are widely available. On the other hand, in low- and middle-income countries, an estimated 15-45% are cured. Lack of diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or delayed diagnosis, barriers to receiving care, abandonment of treatment, death from toxicity, and increased rates of relapse are all causes of avoidable childhood cancer fatalities in low and mid income countries. “Childhood cancer is the number one killer of children by disease. And while statistics now show that 83% of the almost 16,000 children diagnosed in the US each year ‘survive’, this does NOT necessarily mean that they are cured and go on to lead healthy lives,” says Laura Thrall, CEO of CureSearch for Children’s Cancer.

Therefore, every September, childhood cancer organizations all over the world commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month was established in 2010 by former US President Barack Obama. The goals of this month are spreading awareness and raising funds for those affected by childhood cancer.The Gold Ribbon is the International Childhood Cancer Awareness Symbol, and gold is the international color for childhood cancer awareness. As we know, gold means honor.  At Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, we honor the children who are currently fighting cancer, their families, the clinicians and other caregivers who are treating them, the survivors of childhood cancer, the children who have lost their lives to childhood cancer, and the researchers working to conquer childhood cancer.As a society, we should consider supporting children with cancer. As a society, we should consider supporting children with cancer. So, how to get involved in supporting them during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?

Here are few suggestions given by CureSearch for Children’s Cancer :

  1. Leave Your Mark and #MakeItGoldForKids

We can spread awareness by using #MakeItGoldForKids on our social media post. The hashtag will connect to a tight-knit community of people who are leading the fight against children’s cancer. The more people who know about the how this disease devastates children, the faster we can produce results that save lives Moreover, you are supporting an organization that cares about improving childhood cancer treatments and cures for childhood cancer patients.

  1. Connect With Others by Sharing Your Story

One of the best ways to raise awareness about children’s cancer is to connect to other people affected by it. If you know a child with cancer, or someone who supports the fight against cancer, why don’t you listen to their stories and share it. There are a lot of motivational stories that you can listen to from a child with cancer. By listening to their stories, you can have a new perspective and it helps them to be happier because there are people who support them.

  1. Shop with Purpose

On these days, there are a lot of brands that work together with childhood cancer organizations. So, if you want to buy something, you can buy from there. You get what you want, and you have given an indirect donation to the childhood cancer organizations that the brand works with. 

  1. Contribute to Finding a Cure

Contributing to the cure here does not imply that you must conduct cancer research and discover a cure. It means you can give a one-time or recurring donation to help fund research that could save children’s lives. Maybe you can find a local childhood cancer care organization in your country, and donate there. For example, there is Yayasan Onkologi Anak Indonesia in Indonesia. In the US, there is the American Childhood Cancer Organization. And many others across the world. 

This month, let’s share awareness to the world about childhood cancer. We give honor to them, children with cancer. It is time to shed light on the realities of childhood cancer, underline the need of life-saving research, and band together to make a difference for kids who have been diagnosed with the disease. Let’s give gold for the fighter, the survivor, and the taken.

References:

https://www.acco.org/childhood-cancer-awareness-month/

https://curechildhoodcancer.org/childhood-cancer-awareness-month/

https://curesearch.org/How-to-Get-Involved-During-Childhood-Cancer-Awareness-Month

http://www.danafarberbostonchildrens.org/for-families/childhood-cancer-awareness-month

Why Small Things Matter

written by Amanda Ramaningrum, Content Writer at Project Child Indonesia

Nowadays, the development of technology has made us live in a faster way, especially in this pandemic, where digitalization is more common. Every day, we explore and connect through our social media, getting any information easily. We share, and we see. Of course, besides all of the advantages, there is also the negative effect that occurs in our society. Have you ever felt small when seeing other’s great achievements? Or have you felt unproductive whenever you remember how much others had made their ‘big thing’? Then, you will be overwhelmed with thoughts about what the big thing I could make to give a big impact, like others?

Well, the grass is always greener on the other side. The certain feeling when you find your friends or random people on the internet have done so many things to contribute to society is understandable. You saw them help poor children in Kenya, and after seeing that you feel the urgency to help poor children too. You saw one of your friends join volunteers to teach the children from victims of natural disasters in Thailand, and then you feel the want to help those children too. We don’t say that it was a bad thing. Having the ambition to grow, especially to make an impact is a good thing, indeed. But the reason why you are doing that must be changed. We often do those several things to search for validation from others. When we see another ‘big catch’, we are eager to reach that as soon as possible. Better you know, this behavior led us to ignore small things. 

Society standards are the ones we can blame for this situation. Young people are always pushed to make a big impact, and it makes us look only at the big things. We undervalued and unappreciated small moments, small achievements, and small acts. Let them go pass by and refuse to do them. Great things don’t happen without small things. It happens with a series of small things and is not done by impulse. Small things matter.

You may not believe it, but actually, every little thing we do matters and can have an impact. We are just afraid to take a simple step, because we’re worried too much about others’ expectations. Many of us often think like this, “I am not that good like them”  or “They’re so great. I am nothing compared to them”. We unconsciously underestimate our own ability while the fact is everyone can do good, and when you do good, it means you’ve made an impact on yourself and your surroundings.

Do small things to your surroundings (and society!)

That big thing you want to achieve for yourself is actually never about you in the first place. It will be the result of serving others. Celebrate small wins. This may be awkward for you who rarely do this, but really, small compliments can be very meaningful. No one knows your small act can affect someone’s life drastically. Say thank you to the waitress who is serving you at the cafe. Appreciate your teammate’s work.  Also, looking for random acts of kindness you can do for others is sometimes the best way to remember the value of small things.

Big changes always start with small things. The same is true for society; in order for social reform to occur, we must first look at and address minor issues. It is our responsibility as members of the next generation to create a better society. When we do small things together, big things happen faster, and society reforms. So, what is the smallest thing you can do to help?  Well, as I said before, we can do good. You can start by doing something as simple as donating. A single penny of yours could benefit a large number of people outside. Not only that, but we can also start with different things, such as helping directly through volunteer activities. 

As one of the non-government organizations in Indonesia, Project Child Indonesia (PCI) continues their strive to help children getting a better education and save the environment through programs such as Sekolah Sungai and Online Learning Assistants (OLA).  Starting from a mission to help the children in the poor riverside and beachside community, this contribution has turned into a big thing when PCI has succeeded in reaching more than 80 children to get better educational facilities through their programs. 

Seeing this good result, we want these programs to continue to help and reach more children in those communities. If you want to join us and make a small contribution to help these children, you can join our volunteer programs, or help with a little donation through our website. 

Remember a good thing you do today matters. Everyone can do good, and you don’t have to wait to do good because we can always make a difference, even in a small way. 

References

Shankle, Melanie. 2017. Why the Small Things Matter. Retrieved from https://www.success.com/why-the-small-things-matter/

Sambaris, Barrie. 2018. The Small Things That Truly Matter. Retrieved from https://artplusmarketing.com/the-small-things-that-truly-matter-958156fa8f69

Goke, Niklas. 2020. If You Can’t Do Big Things for Yourself, Do Small Things for Others. Retrieved from https://link.medium.com/jgS12fi2Jib

The Significance of Women’s Equality Day (and How We Can Celebrate It!)

By Arlenea Halyda, Content Writer Intern at Project Child Indonesia

Did you know that August 26th is a momentous day in gender equality history?

Before we dive into August 26th significance, let’s take a peek into its history first to understand better where we came from.

Gender inequality is an issue that we as women have struggled with, as far as history goes. This is a problem because equality is a social, economic, and political imperative and should not be a debatable issue—it should be something we’ve already been bestowed upon, as it is our right as humans to be treated with decency. And yet, throughout history, the disparity between women and men in all facets of life stays horrendously alarming.

August 26th, however, is a day of joy. This day in 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby signed a petition that granted American women’s right to vote, concluding the century-long battle over women’s equality in America. This occurrence then leads Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York to declare August 26th as Women’s Equality Day.

But why is Women’s Equality Day so important? What makes it an epochal event that’s to be celebrated annually?

Well, for starters, Women’s Equality Day is a beacon of hope. It’s a ray of optimism amidst our dark history, a lighthouse shining through the haze of oppression and injustice that says, ‘We are here, and you are not alone in this fight.’ Although the hard-fought battle for women’s equality is still far from over, this day signifies a tremendous leap towards a more inclusive society where men and women can stand as equals, as we were meant to be.

Recognizing the importance of Women’s Equality Day lets us, the younger generation, honor the women who fought before us. It eternalizes the memories of our predecessors’ struggles as they secure a brighter future and a form of gratitude as we realize that we wouldn’t be where we are without them.

So what does this mean for us?

As a generation of youth, we have a duty to continue this fight towards equality. Commemorating this day is a nod to our past heroes that we appreciate their efforts and that we will persist, accept the torch they passed onto us, and carry on with what they started. Surely we cannot let their hurdles be wasted in vain.

With all that being said, here are a few ways to celebrate women’s existence and take another step towards gender equality. You can do this in honor of Women’s Equality Day, but given that change comes with constant progress, I encourage you to do this year-round, too!

Acknowledge Women’s Achievements

How often have women invented something remarkable, yet her name goes unnoticed in history? There are far too many instances of women’s exemplary achievements being swept under the rug simply because of their gender. This is incredibly damaging, as it diminishes women’s accomplishments and dims women’s representation in the world.

You can help reduce this issue by sharing your female friend’s or colleague’s achievements! Support your colleague’s work and highlight their strength, post your friend’s milestones on social media. Please give them the recognition they deserve. Let their presence be seen, let their voices be heard.

Uplift Your Girl Friends (and Girlfriends!)

Women (and men) need to band together to fight our common enemy: the patriarchy. While the patriarchy as a system wouldn’t be so easy to abolish, we can slowly destroy its foundations, little by little, by uplifting women in our daily lives. This can be done by empowering fellow women and looking out for each other. Practice compassion, and hear what they have to say.

Educate Yourself

Educate yourself, because after all, changes start with you. If no accessible formal education or training works on this issue, you can educate yourself by reading books on gender equality. This is amazing for us to have an outlook on different women’s lives and experiences. Here are a few book recommendations:

  • Women, Race, and Class by Angela Davis
  • Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado-Perez
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

For Those Who Identifies as a Male: Be a Good Ally

To those privileged enough not to be affected by gender inequality, I implore you to be a good ally. Protect women, not just because they’re your mother or sister, but simply because she’s a person, above whatever role a woman holds in your life—a living human being with a soul who deserves to be treated with respect. If you spot anyone making sexist remarks, or showcasing predatory behaviors, call them out on it. Don’t stay silent. Use your voices well.

To conclude… Happy Women’s Equality Day to all who identify as a woman. The world we live in right now is not yet the perfect utopia we dreamed of, and there is still much work to be done. But I believe, one day, we’ll get there. No matter our gender identities, I believe we can stand together and fight inequality, one step at a time.

To end this article, I would like to share a quote by the wonderful author, Ursula K. Le Guin. This quote rattled my bones and inspired me to get up and fight the patriarchy with my bare hands, so I hope it can inspire you as well.

I know that many men and even women are afraid and angry when women do speak, because in this barbaric society when women speak truly, they speak subversively—they can’t help it: if you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes. When women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.

That’s what I want—to hear you erupting. You young Mount St. Helenses who don’t know the power in you—I want to hear you.”

— Ursula K. Le Guin

Reference

[1]http://werehistory.org/womens-equality-day/

[2]https://time.com/4459168/womens-equality-day-bella-abzug/

[3]https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/why-august-26-is-known-as-womans-equality-day 

[4]https://www.forbes.com/sites/shelleyzalis/2017/08/26/why-womens-equality-day-is-so-important/?sh=2a06335283c7

[5]https://www.hindustantimes.com/more-lifestyle/women-s-equality-day-2020-history-significance-and-all-you-need-to-know/story-RfPkMQvTk4Fwr1SAj634FK.html 

[6]https://www.nbcnews.com/know-your-value/feature/women-s-equality-day-why-it-matters-how-you-can-ncna903786