Regional Manager of Eco Bhinneka Pontianak Invites Youth to Build Harmony and Sustainability of the Earth

Octavia Shinta Aryani, Regional Manager of Eco Bhinneka Muhammadiyah Pontianak, was a speaker on Religious Harmony and the Future of the Earth in the Interfaith Youth Dialogue on January 27, 2024. The event raised the theme The Role of Interfaith Youth in Maintaining Religious Harmony and the Future of the Earth, carried out in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, by the Institute for Inter-Religious and Civilization Relations (LHUBP) of the Regional Board of Muhammadiyah West Kalimantan.

In her presentation, Shinta highlighted the importance of diversity which, if managed well, is a legacy, wealth and extraordinary strength, especially for Indonesia. “With more than 17,000 islands, more than 270 million people, more than 700 languages, more than 300 ethnic groups or ethnic groups, and many more different cultures and traditions, Indonesian society has inherited the potential for cultural riches as well as challenges in maintaining harmony,” she explained.

Furthermore, this woman, who works as a teacher at SD Muhammadiyah 6 Pontianak, considers that in this case youth are considered to have a central role in building inter-religious bridges, through dialogue and cooperation, opening the door to better understanding. ‚ÄúReligious harmony is not only a goal but also a solid foundation for world peace as a whole. Creating feelings of equality and mutual respect is the first step towards an inclusive society,” she said.

Apart from that, she added, global challenges such as climate change, environmental damage and loss of biodiversity confront us with the need to immediately take joint and collaborative action in order to not only maintain harmonious human relations but also harmonious living together on the same earth.

In her efforts to build a strong and inclusive community, Shinta introduced the Eco Bhinneka Muhammadiyah program which has been implemented since December 2021 in Pontianak. “This program combines environmental conservation actions as a means of building dialogue between youth across faiths, creating peace and maintaining harmony,” said Shinta.

On this occasion, Shinta, who is also currently active as Deputy Principal for the Curriculum and Teaching Department at the elementary school where she teaches, invited participants to an interactive game. This game aims to overcome prejudice through reflection and symbolism, where participants write down prejudices that arise consciously or not in their minds about those with different beliefs and convictions. The prejudices are then read and commented on together. These prejudices are then collectively thrown into the trash.

“Firstly, reminding us that taking our small responsibility for the waste we produce is the first step, secondly, throwing away all these prejudices is expected to illustrate that these prejudices can be answered directly through the dialogues that are carried out,” she said.

According to Shinta, interfaith dialogue is an important medium for strengthening religious harmony. “If united in the spirit of diversity, youth can become agents of change and lead sustainability steps to achieve a better future for the earth,” she concluded.

Editor : Farah

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