In an effort to show support for unity as well as inter-faith and inter-ethnic tolerance in Indonesia, the BINUS Northumbria School of Design (BNSD) and School of Design (SoD) of BINUS UNIVERSITY participated in a SabangMerauke Photography Event. Several students and lecturers from the Graphic Design and New Media Program took part in this event that was held on Tuesday, 17 July 2018, at the GO-FOOD Festival, Gelora Bung Karno, Jakarta.
Initiated by the Seribu Anak Bangsa Indonesia Foundation, SabangMerauke is a student exchange program, where children from various regions – including remote areas – are invited to Jakarta, and encouraged to stay and live with families of different religious and ethnic backgrounds. This program aims to encourage tolerance to young children, as well as to teach them about the importance of higher education and love for Indonesia.
Reynold Hamdani, the Managing Director of SabangMerauke, explained that the children were selected from highly homogenous areas, either in ethnic or religious affiliation. Therefore, there is a possibility that they have never interacted with people outside their “walls”. This condition can result in closed minds and develop the wrong perceptions of other people with different faiths and cultures. Through this program, these children were encouraged to break their walls, experience living with people different from them, and eliminate the wrong perceptions and stereotypes.
Reynold hopes that through SabangMerauke, the young children can learn and understand about diversity, accept it, and live with it because Indonesia is a highly-diverse country. “We have to maintain tolerance. And tolerance can’t be taught; tolerance has to be experienced and felt,” he added.
Capturing Confidence in Tolerance
In this SabangMerauke Photography Event, BNSD and SoD took part in photographing and capturing children to show how they emitted confidence in tolerance. During the SabangMerauke program, the children exhibited strong bonds with each other, had fun together, and expressed enthusiasm to interact with and learn from others.
Angela Larasati, a volunteer who is also a student from the Graphic Design and New Media Program, said that she was really impressed by how the children were able to show tolerance and set an example for all Indonesians. “I hope in the future, there will be more BINUSIANs that are willing to participate in positive events like this. Yes, it can be exhausting, but it will be more beneficial for you,” she said.
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