Beautiful (by Antoinette Mpawenayo)

During my placement at Interfide, I was given the opportunity to visit some highschools and help with the “The Power of Goodness” program. The power of goodness is a workshop that Interfide does that teaches people how to love your so-called enemy. For example, during the workshop at one of the high schools we were all told to sit in front of each other and answer some questions. The second question that was asked was, “was there someone you have been told is your enemy and if so how have you found a way to love them”? The staff of Interfide gave the Chinese Indonesian as an example, because Chinese Indonesians have been discriminated against and she wanted the students to understand the question.
These photos are from the Multicultural Sekolah Indonesia. This school is Multicultural because students with different religious backgrounds can come together and learn. In Indonesia there are different institutions based on someone’s religion, so there are institutions for Muslims, Christians, Catholics, etc. The people in the photos are students from the school, I am unable to name all of their names, but there was one student in particular who is shown in all three of the pictures. Her name is P, P is a sophomore at the highschool and during our answering questions time she was the student I got to talk to. I answered the question about our enemies with P. She was asked to go first and what she said really made me sympathize with her. She stated that she wanted to be like white people because she hated her brown skin and wished her hair was straight like white people because she hated her curls.
Hearing this I was not speechless at all, because I once was her and wished what she wished. One of the photos shows the moment we are having the conversation after she told me those things I looked her in the eyes and I told her “you are beautiful, your skin is beautiful, and so are your curls and many people pay to look exactly like you.” She looked at me and cried. This made me very sad and I am so happy I was able to tell her those words because it seemed like she didn’t hear it enough. Towards the end of the workshop we were asked to draw how we felt and P ended up drawing a girl with curly hair and that made me so happy because she just kept telling me that “we are beautiful.”
To have a school like Multicultural Sekolah Indonesia is very important because we learn from each other and the students from all different religions are learning from one another.