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Teach Tolerance, End The Violence

Written by Vina Dina Fitriana, Content Writer Intern Project Child Indonesia

Have you listened to a song titled Heal The World? If you’ve never listened to that song, then you’re definitely missing out! It’s a peaceful and heart-warming song, written and sung by Michael Jackson to persuade the listeners to create a more peaceful world with compassion and tolerance between religions, ethnicities, and countries.

Tolerance is the key to creating a peaceful and safe environment for the human race. Tolerance between religions, ethnicities, and countries are important to prevent discrimination and civil war. How many cases of bullying occur because someone is perceived as different? How often is an ethnic or race being discriminated because of their skin color, religion, or because of the past mistakes of their ancestors? Those who are different and a minority because of their ethnic, religion, skin color or appearance are frequently bullied and treated unequally.

Bullying and discrimination are not a new case, but why haven’t they been resolved?

“Tolerance, like any aspect of peace, is a forever work in progress, never completed”

-Octavia Buttler

Tolerance is a forever work in progress because humans are social creatures who need each other and always live side by side. So, we need to be tolerant since we were young until we become elderly and it’s become necessary to teach tolerance from a young age in order to make children get used to being tolerant, because tolerance is an important behaviour and attitude. According to Rady Children’s Hospital’s page, tolerance means respecting and learning from others, valuing differences, bridging cultural gaps, rejecting unfair stereotypes, discovering common ground, and creating new bonds. Children need to be given the understanding that The Creator created humans in a wide variety and always live side by side. There are many possibilities for them to meet friends who are different from them, and they need to accept the diversity.

We can teach tolerance to children by giving examples of how to live with tolerance. Children learn by imitating and listening to people around them. Hence, we urge ourselves to be tolerant first and pay attention to our attitudes or what we said, so we could be a role model for our children. Moreover, with the development of technology, we can teach children through books, music, films or games. If it’s possible, we can prepare children to live side by side with a diverse environment by sending them to schools which have many ethnicities and religions. Perhaps it could be a good idea if we can choose two or more children as a representative to lead a peer group discussion about tolerance and remind each other as Project Child Indonesia did.

“We do not need guns and bombs to bring peace, we need love and compassion”

-Mother Teresa

It’s already 2021, the diversity among us is getting wider. While things are dynamic and fast, there is no need to point a gun to make others obey us, no need to use violence to make others agree with our opinion, and no need for hate speech to tell someone is wrong. What we need is mutual understanding, love and compassion for others to create peace.

Isn’t it great to live peacefully? Live with the feeling of safety and sound to grow and develop according to what we want, believe, and what we truly are. No matter where we are from, what race we are, how much money we have, what religion we trust, we are one. We are human. Together we bring peace to our universe, we create a safe place for our children to grow up and be themselves. We don’t have the capacity to judge others and tell them they did wrong. Let’s embrace cultural tolerance and make the world a better place to live.

Picture by: Era.id

Put Children’s Perspective about Diversity through Tolerance Ambassador Project

Written by Theresia Tyas Thea Kirana, Program Coordinator Intern Project Child Indonesia

Do you ever wonder how the world looks like when humans are all the same? We have the same skin colors, same hairstyle, same body shapes, or even the same belief. Close your eyes. Visualize that on your mind. Take a reflective moment for a second. Do you feel weird? Okay, stop visualizing it and get back to our reality, where people from a whole lot of different backgrounds are living on the same planet Earth and we are one of them. I am one of those different people, and you are one of them, too. It is heartbreaking to see people disliking or even bullying and harming others who are not from the same background as them. What is the root of those wicked actions? Are we born with the feeling of hating things or people that are different from us?

According to the argument stated in the United Nation article on International Day for Tolerance which says that people are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe. As a global commitment, International Day for Tolerance is observed annually on 16 November since 1995 to promote tolerance. Project Child Indonesia (PCI) supported and celebrated the diversity among its workers and the beneficiaries by seeing the differences as something powerful that can make people do something good, one action is by making a project called The Child Ambassador for Tolerance.

PCI, as an NGO that works with children and people from the riverside communities, wants to see and educate the children living in Sekolah Sungai communities about the importance of diversity and how to cherish our differences in ethnicity, race, and religion. Thankfully, the matters happen to be the same thing as Williams-Sonoma Indonesia (WSI) has been campaigning about social justice, and the WSI inspired by Sekolah Sungai Program. Therefore PCI and WSI collaborate and initiate this project in September-October 2020.

The weekly mentoring classes were conducted for four weeks and closed with ceremony and campaign activities. In the beginning of the project, the volunteers got a chance to meet Dr. Diah Kusumaningrum, one of the lecturers in International Relations Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), to understand more about what tolerance is about and how to persuade children to be aware and understand about tolerance and diversity from their own experiences. This activity is a training activity to prepare volunteers to become facilitators before going to the field.

The implementation of this project involves 5 (five) child representatives from each location to be fostered as ambassador. Four weeks mentoring classes accompanied by facilitators simultaneously in three river communities. During each class, the volunteers and the children were discussing the experiences they are facing in daily activities related to living in a diverse community. They also met some invited people from Rote, Ambon, and Central Sulawesi. Through the meeting with three different people from different backgrounds, we encourage the children to ask anything about diversity and experience by themselves about another culture. Later, the children made some posters related to the knowledge they have gained during the project, they also practiced the message of their poster in front of the other children and volunteers. The mentoring class activities concluded with a closing ceremony and on-site campaign in each river and digital campaign for the public.

If there is one thing that we can learn from this project, as one of the invited persons said, prejudice is learned and not inevitable. Children can learn and relearn about toleration, it is the environment that shapes our being as a human to have our own perspective. Our perspective may vary, but the key is to celebrate and embrace diversity and use it as our tool to live our best life with other people. As the tagline of this project says, let’s do each other’s favor by “Menyayangi, Berempati, Wujudkan Harmoni!”

Reference:

https://www.un.org/en/observances/tolerance-day