Vio is a Child Rights Advocate of Yayasan Embun Pelangi (YEP), a Terre des Hommes partner in Indonesia. Since 2019, she has dedicated her time in being a voice for other children as a Chairman of RAEKSA, a child-led group that empowers children and youth.
“The reason why I am eager to help other children is simple. I am one of them. I am a child. I understand how tough the world is toward us. I relate with them, the empathy that I feel exists within my heart. And it is crystal clear that every single one of us should take part in helping children.”
Vio is from the island of Batam in Indonesia. Her motivation to be an child rights advocate resulted from what she had seen in her community. “I was moved by the dire situations that I’ve seen and even experienced as a vulnerable child in this horrible society. At first I didn’t even think that I would contribute much to the organization. But being selected as the chairman has motivated me to give my best in order to advance our movement. Not only nationwide, but also worldwide”, she said.
“In the culture of Indonesia, children are often taught to not interfere in adult matters. Therefore we are told to stay silent when adults are talking, even though what they discuss is a matter regarding our well-being. I believe this particular custom has led me to grow up burying all my burden, and the urges to speak up”.
When she was selected as Chairman of RAEKSA, her desire to help other children became even more apparent. “I’ve found my calling. Just like Newton inspired by an apple, I’ve been inspired by passion. A passion to change the fate of children in the world, to create a child-friendly world, a world where peace is absolute. People might say it’s a childish, impossible, futile idea. But I believe if we work together, hand in hand, contributing our best, bestowing our most… I believe the moment will arise. And until then, we have to keep pushing the boundaries”, Vio said.
She said, “One of the most crucial in my opinion is the lack of education on sexual and reproductive health. Talking about our sexuality and such is considered to be taboo. Therefore, many undesirable outcomes can be seen. Such as teenage pregnancy, sexual violence, sexually transmitted infections on individuals, and others”.
She added, “ Another challenge that we face is the lack of protection in terms of sexual exploitation cases. Many of my friends and even me have experienced sexual harassment. And the ironic part is that the perpetrator are people that supposedly protect us. We are too scared to speak up about the event because of the fear of stigma, the fear that we are the one that got the blame, the embarrassment, and etc. the society around us created this mindset. Owing to the fact that the past cases have received the same responses. Instinctively we shut our mouth. After joining RAEKSA I finally have the courage to speak up about my gloomy experience and so do my friends. And I intend to encourage more people to step up and get the justice they deserve”.
Vio was able to attend the Asian Children Summit (25 November – 30 November 2019) as Indonesia’s representative in Bangkok, Thailand. In this event, she was able to speak about and set an example to her peers.
She said, “To be able to speak up at such a high level international event has made me gasp in disbelief. The experiences are extremely valuable, no amount of money in this world could replace it. 21 nations gathered in the same room. Different ideologies, different perspectives, the diversity we had and yet we bond like a sea to the shore. A passion to be heard, a passion to change the world. We are all fighting. Fighting for our right, fighting for the voiceless, fighting for a better future. And this kind of feeling won’t be possible without the support of all auspices, especially Terre des Hommes and Yayasan embun Pelangi (YEP). Thank you so much for igniting a hope in my heart. No amount of words can express my gratitude. I hope in the future there will be more children like me. More children and youth making this world a better place”.
“I would love to see changes regarding their mindset. I want people, especially adults, to be more accepting toward changes, to be able to look at things in a positive way, to give advice in a respective manner. I also hope that children and youth in my community are motivated to give out new innovations, to speak up their minds, to fight for our rights”.
“As for the future, I hope to see our mother earth smiling and recovering from this devastating condition with the help of humanity. I hope this pandemic ends as soon as possible. So I could meet brilliant minds from all over the world, to continue my journey on advocating. I’m hoping for a peaceful world, where children and youth are smiling while going to school. I hope in the future acts of kindness are not seen as weakness”, Vio ended.