Bhinneka Camp! (Bhinneka means unity in English)
Expanding unity, celebrating diversity
Thank you for supporting our work, which aims to bring about better understanding and unity between diverse communities, cultures and religions around the world.
In this update I am delighted to tell you about an exciting project that our friends at Encompass Indonesia are planning. Encompass Indonesia is hoping to be at the forefront of a new era of cooperation between Southeast Asian nations.
This year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) entered a new era of collaboration between its members – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. This means a more fluid flow of products, services, workforce and investment.
However many worry that, in reality, this will highlight long term friction between some member countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand and Cambodia. Encompass Indonesia wants to do something about this! They are planning a new project which will mirror the Encompass international Journey of Understanding of which many Indonesian young people have already taken part in, together with Palestinians, Israelis, Americans and British.
Each of the ASEAN member countries will be given the chance to send three participants aged 18-23 on to the nine day programme to be hosted in Indonesia. Objectives of the programme will be as follows:
- To empower participants as leaders of inter-community cohesion
- To allow participants to address the various stereotypes and prejudices and building respect between diverse communities
- To build self-esteem and confidence
- To provide an ideas forum
Encompass’ roots are in the Bali bombing of 2002 and so Indonesia has been central to the organisation since its inception. Encompass Indonesia was established as an organisation in its own right in Indonesia in 2011, and is based in Malang (on Java), a town heavily populated with students. They have a very strong and active group of volunteers as well as an excellent staff team.
The key figure at Encompass Indonesia has been Heroe Soeprapto who initially ran a youth pioneer organisation called YEPE which Encompass began working alongside. Heroe has ceded control to his daughter, Adhitya Putri – a 24 year old Indonesian film star – but remains the guiding hand whilst on twice-weekly kidney dialysis. The other key player is Bambang Sarasno who is heavily into music and arts and uses his skills to run programmes on behalf of Encompass Indonesia.
Putri said about the plan to roll out their work with ASEAN countries, “We are very keen to get this project going and think that we can make an enormous difference.”
Other Encompass Indonesia projects have included:
- A Children’s Art competition where Encompass Indonesia alumni visited 75 schools in the Malang area to get children (ages 5 – 17) to take part in an art competition under the heading ‘Harmony in Diversity’. It was supported by the local Arts Council and hundreds turned up on a Saturday to take part.
- Metamorphosa - A music and dance workshop/festival/competition bringing young people from across Indonesia, notably from some of the areas where there is conflict and/or discord with other parts of the country (Aceh, Papua). Musicians’ form Papua were amazed at being able to take part in something where they were accepted as normal, listened to and appreciated and not treated as sub-human and a joke, as is their usual status in Indonesia.
- Their own local programme Bhinneka (meaning unity) Camp
- Encompass goes to school – alumni going into schools to run workshops and talk about the Encompass message
Encompass Indonesia are currently working hard to make the new ASEAN project a reality. They are building networks of contacts and sourcing sponsorship. If you feel that you can help at all, please do let us know. Support for this work is vital - both financial and in kind.
Thanks again for your support for our work.
Bhinneka Camp workshop
Planning for a workshop on tackling conflict