21 November 2006
Childrens National Conference Starts
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The sixth Childrens Conference opened in Jakarta on Monday, attended by 36 young Indonesians who had written winning essays on earthquakes, tsunamis, the mudflow and pollution.
The organizer of the three-day conference centering on environmental issues and natural disasters said the meeting was aimed at producing a smart, independent and original\" generation.
Participants were selected through a competition in which they wrote short essays on catastrophes. Sever students wrote first hand of such events, or told the stories of family members.
\"We want to give the children a medium for their creativity,\" said Koes Sabandiah, promoter of the conference and chief editor of Bobo, a weekly childrenmagazine.
The essays have been compiled in a 144-page book that will be distributed to school libraries across the country.
\"These children show real talent. However, we found out that some parents had interfered with their writing process, so this hampered the childrens creativity rather than fostering their confidence,s Koes said.
She added that other parents whose children were accepted to the conference had not even noticed their children writing their essays.
\"Children write differently than adults as their output is more austere. As adults, our writing is more structured,\" Koes said, adding that it had been easy for the judges to identify essays written by parents.
The winners come from Aceh, Lampung, South Sulawesi, West Kalimantan, Batam Island, West Java, Jakarta, Central Java, East Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and Papua.
Rita Aulia, a 10-year-old student from Bandung in West Java, wrote a short essay about her experience in Adelaide, Australia, where she was when the 2004 tsunami hit Aceh. She and her family sold clothes to raise donations for a survivor who had lost his children and wife.
Fitri Asta Pramesti, a sixth grader from Waleri, Central Java, wrote about the time her house was inundated by a flood. She also suggested ways to avoid such a disaster, including dumping garbage in appropriate places and cleaning gutters.
This conference, she said, would be a great opportunity to make new friends.
The participants will discuss their experiences with recent disasters and ways to solve environmental problems. They will also attend creative thinking and leadership workshops.
First Lady Ani Yudhoyono and Social Affairs Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah will meet the winners at the opening of a rehabilitation center for street children in East Jakarta.
The students are expected to issue a declaration at the end of the conference that will be given to the social affairs minister. (03)
Sumber: www.thejakartapost.com (National News, November 21, 2006)
Foto: Ricky Martin/Bobo