Watching these two TedTalks made me seriously reflect on my life and what I have. Yes it's totally cliché and yes you experience this reflection many times in your life, but still, I think it's important.
Every once in a while you must, as the following TedTalks say, "Stop, Look and Go". We should stop to appreciate what we have in the midst of our fast-paced lives, look for and take opportunities to be grateful and then go share our good fortune with others.
Yup I'm totally preaching what the TedTalks said but it's something I'll remember so as not to be spoilt and all. IB CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) at my school is great and I believe we give back a lot to the local community around us. The students who really engage in CAS have a wonderful capacity to cultivate an attitude to challenge the untried disposition to put the wrong right.
We have an eco-school built by CAS students 2 years back 10 minutes away from my school. This school, called Sekolah Bisa!, educates 25 young children from the nearby local shanty area. For these kids, begging on the streets is their norm, but Sekolah Bisa offers them the foregone access to education as a restoration of their Children's Rights as UNESCO dictates.
'Sekolah' means 'school' in Indonesian, and 'Bisa' means 'can'. It's symbolic of enabling the children, instead of their circumstances immobilising and ensnaring them.
Everyday, they can wake up and go to this amazing school where they learn Maths, Science, English and Indonesian. They paint, draw and do various stimulating activities. These kids who previously could not read, now can. These kids who hadn't an inkling of the multiplication tables, now have. These kids who had never been cared for, now are.
We may not be able to change the lives of all the kids in the surrounding shanties, but at least for these 25 children, they have a part of their childhood restored.
My CAS group is involved with Sekolah Bisa through sport. We have a football team comprised of Sekolah Bisa students that we enter into the local Jakarta Schools Football Association (JSFA) League, otherwise known as the Coca Cola League here. Last year we entered an U12 team, when the league starts in January 2014 we will be entering a new U10 team with a few new students.
We call our football team Bintang Bisa. 'Bintang' meaning 'star' and 'bisa' meaning 'can'. These children, with some care and fostering, have so much latent talent and capacity. They are stars and they can, with some guidance, be integrated back into society and be proper Indonesian citizens.
My CAS group and I have never been so proud of an achievement in our lives. Seeing the children run carefree in their jerseys, playing football happily with smiles on their face - they throw off all the heavy burdens of their harsh lives in those moments and embody childhood.
Smiles, laughter, play.
Boots, sweat and smiles.
I know full well I am still young and may not understand life's harsh realities, but at least through this community service and caring for these shanty children these past few years I have somewhat shared in their harsh reality, and in the process, deepened my compassion and empathy to some extent.
I have not elaborated thoroughly on what my CAS group does or accomplishes, but the point is that gratitude and happiness can go hand in hand if we allow it. I never want to forget the lessons of the afore mentioned TedTalks and I hope to always carry out my community service with kindness, so that even if the extent of my reach is only 25 children, it is still 25 children more than before with better lives each day.
I now express my gratitude to you for taking your time to read this post. Thank you! :)