It was supposed to be a good start of the week. A few days left to thesis submission, my days always began with sleepless nights. But, as soon as I received an e-mail from an old friend, my heart leaped reading the subject. It was Fran, the Global Changemakers’ team leader. I haven’t heard from Fran for awhile, thus I was very glad to have received some news from her. Little that I knew, it was not a good news.
The e-mail was sent to inform an important update that the Global Changemakers programme has been discontinued. It was such, such a heartbreaking news for me. Global Changemakers is a platform for youth activists from all around the world, established and run by the British Council, supported by the World Economic Forum. Every year, it organises the Global Youth Summit (as well as a number of non-regular regional youth summits) to gather young people and train them to develop projects in order to make betterment of their respective communities. It also supports the projects led by its participants, through the Community Action Projects grants scheme, as well as Changemakers’ Toolkit that it has developed.
Global Changemakers’ literally changed my life. And, this post, was written and dedicated to thank them: Fran, Gaby, Matt, Katherine, John, and the rest of the team, as well as every single Global Changemaker in the world.
A small note I left by the end of my first Global Changemakers summit.
January 24, 2009.
Today, 4.5 years later, I still feel the same.
In 2009, I was an ordinary student in a public high school. Such a weirdo (and still am), did not really fit in school, could not handle bullying, could not manage my stress, and ended up looking for extracurricular activities outside school. I yearned to travel, to see the world, to get to know strangers, and basically, to make my life a better one; an extraordinary one. I then applied to participate in the 3rd Global Changemakers Youth Summit 2009 (formerly called Global Changemakers Guildford Forum 2009). And in a blink, my life changed.
In the summit, I trained myself to be a better person. I learned on how to speak well in front of the public, and basically how to manage a project. Most of all, for the first time in my life, I flew so far, without my parents (my last international trip was in 1995). For the first time, I landed my feet in London (and saw The Lion King at the West End!). For the first time, I finally made use of my English to its native speakers. I met inspiring young people, some of whom I’ve written about in my book. Including Simon Moss, an alumnus of Global Changemakers–who then became the respondent for my undergraduate thesis. Yet also, I got to know Fajar Anugerah, whom was assigned to ‘accompany’ me during the travels (flights). We became really good friends ever since, and he’s now like a surrogate brother to me (I could never ask for a better one).
Indonesian Youth Conference (IYC), an annual programme of Sinergi Muda, that is going to be held for the fourth time this year, was initially my outcome from the summit. After the event, the participants were encouraged to develop a project that will benefit our community in the Community Action Projects scheme, and my idea was to organise IYC. I proposed the idea and Global Changemakers provided a small amount of start-up grant, which I used to print proposals and stuff. They also introduced me to Veronica Colondam, the CEO of YCAB Foundation, who then agreed to become my mentor in organising IYC.
A few months later, Global Changemakers asked me to represent Indonesia in its programme with the G-20, in which we were asked to develop our own version of communique to be handed to the Head of States who were in London for the G-20. I did a crash course on Indonesian economics with my then-boyfriend’s Dad, especially its relevance towards the global financial crisis. We presented the communique to David Miliband in the House of Lords; and I personally met former PM Gordon Brown, President Felipe Calderon, and our very own President Yudhoyono. In that occasion, I became acquaintances with Dino Patti Djalal. He would have never come to my book launch hadn’t we met in the UK.
Time went by, and IYC was successfully held. It then became one of the most successful Community Action Projects and was featured in the Global Changemakers’ annual report. Because of that, I was asked to develop a Social Media Toolkit to help other changemakers to design and develop the social media strategy for their projects.
Now, well, I am who I am now. And I would never, ever be this person if it weren’t for the Global Changemakers.
So, knowing that the programme has been discontinued really, really breaks my heart. I really wished that there were more young people who could have been a part of it, and could have their lives changed as what Global Changemakers have done to me. But, I am surer than ever, that its legacy will live on, and every Changemaker in the world is going to leave a dent in the universe (as deep as the dent that Global Changemakers had left in my heart — a good dent, of course).
Thank you, Gaby, Katherine, Matt, Fran. I hope you would know that you have given a tremendous amount of contribution in people’s lives, especially in mine. You guys have helped me improved myself to be a better person, and supported me in reaching my dream to change the world (one step at a time). I’ve always tried to connect all the dots, and I’ve realised that Global Changemakers will always be a part of those connections (one of the bigger dots, even). I wish you all the best for your future endeavours, and I dearly hope that our paths will cross again sometime (just like what happened with me and Gaby when I had the chance to visit Bern!).
I love you, guys.
Thank you for being a part of my life, and helping me to make it an awesome one. x