Meet Enti (16), one of youth champions of Girls Football, managed by AHA (Adolescent Health and Agency), Yayasan Plan International Indonesia (Plan Indonesia) in Timor, East Nusa Tenggara Province. She has witnessed the positive changes in her community as she shared the previous situation, “Making our own decision was not easy. Many parents treated their children differently, so daughters usually did not get the same opportunities as sons.”
Before the project was conducted at her village, some forms of violence against children seemed so common. Many parents, including hers, thought that they had to raise their kids strictly as they believed that it could make their children tough and successful. “My friends and I lived in those situations since we were kids. I felt that I could not gain my confidence,” Enti added. She found that the violence they experienced at home drove them to do the same to their friends or relatives.
However, she and her friends started seeing different perspectives and positive changes since AHA Programme came to their school in September 2020. The programme conducted a selection process of Girls Football team and they were excited to join. “I was interested in information about risky behaviors and the effects. I wanted to learn more about the impacts of bullying and issues around the negative use of the Internet, unhealthy relationship, child marriage, smoking and gender-based violence,” Enti shared her motivation.
In October 2020, twenty representatives, including Enti, from ten Junior High Schools were trained. They are then regularly accompanied and motivated. They are also able to consult and work with Plan Timor’s AHA Programme team to support the youth champions at their villages. “I found some positive changes in myself. I have stopped bullying as I believe that it only brings dangers to my friends, even to myself. The bullying may bring some domino effects, especially in doing risky behaviours such as accessing porn, drinking alcohols, smoking and others,” Enti shared her experience.
Enti is highly motivated to be a youth champion as she has been witnessing violence and teenage pregnancies in her community. Enti explains her roles, “As an agent of change, I get involved in some activities at village level. I give explanation and discuss some topics around gender equality, reproductive health and the preventions of child marriage and risky behaviors.” She does believe that the more people listen and care, the faster changes will occur. Enti and her friends hope that children and young people could be confident to share their opinions in public and fight for their rights. “I hope that Plan Indonesia could facilitate us to expand campaigns in sub-districts and districts because there are still many people that need information about bullying and risky behaviors prevention,” Enti shared her hopes. In the future, we could see more young people and girls like Enti that could make decisions about their lives and reach their full potentials.