Learning from I Ngurah Putu Setiawan
Art is a means for Ngurah and the other children to express their
views about peace, harmony and conflict in their community
Indonesia is famous as a multicultural country, and
Leboni is one of the multicultural villages in Poso District on the
island of Sulawesi. There are many different tribes living there, one of
which is the Balinese community of about 70 households. Although the
majority of the ethnic Balinese people are Hindus, they live in harmony
and respect people who practice other faiths. For instance, when the
Hindu holiday of Galungan takes place, Christian and Muslim friends come
to visit them. Similarly, during Christmas and Idul Fitri, the Balinese
people also visit them.
On March 22, we had a meeting with junior
high school students to talk about creatively using media to bring about
harmony as an extracurricular activity in school. At the meeting, there
were 10 children and eight teachers and headmasters from seven junior
high schools. One of the student participants was I Ngurah Putu Setiawan
from Tonusu Junior High School, a 13-year-old student in seventh grade
from the Balinese community of Leboni who is called Ngurah by his
During the program, I mentored the children’s group, and
my friend mentored the teachers and headmasters. In the children’s
group, we discussed about what is peace and harmony, what is conflict
and how to reflect peace and harmony by what we say and do. It was so
exciting to me when I read the suggestions of each group of children,
for some of them wrote that we should respect people who are different
because difference is a beautiful thing or helping their friends when
they face bad situations promotes peace and harmony or there is peace
and harmony when there is no hatred.
When I stopped at Ngurah’s
group, suddenly he asked me, “If I try to make posters about peace and
harmony and talk about stopping violence against children, is it OK?”
The question of Ngurah made me suddenly say thanks to God for giving
us children like Ngurah who want to make peace in their community.
He then added, “I would like to put this on the school wall so that
every child can see and read then what makes peace also.”
a simple message but such an inspiration to me.
facilitated Ngurah and his friend to make a concept and begin drawing.
Another gratifying aspect of this story for me is that Ngurah comes
from a farming family, and this does not inhibit his intention to make
peace for his community.
* Suwarti Ningsih is a staff member of
World Vision Indonesia who works with children and women in Poso and
Tentena in Central Sulawesi, especially children and women affected by
violence between the Christian and Muslim communities. She is a 2010
alumni of the School of Peace held in Bangalore, India, by ICF.