Asia West Pacific

Developing Resilience during the Pandemic in Concert with Peace Place Pati

By Petrus

Live and lively :from left – Jaslan Jenius, Tegar Terampil,Gagas Gagah,Pulihati Pintar,Diah Disiplin,Lina Lucu,Ninok Nikmat: Tito photo’s

School classes in Indonesia have been closed since March 2020 because of the pandemic. As a result, children study at home with their parents. These changes bring burdens and stresses to both parents and children. This problem was felt by the parents in the GITJ (Gereja Injli di Tanah Jawa- Mennonite Church in Java) Churches in Tawangrejo, Banyutowo and Tlogowungu. So they began developing a child mentoring program.

Twenty-five staff and mentors from GITJ Tawangrejo and GITJ Banyutowo assisted 365 children on February 25th for 5.5 hours at Peace Place in Pati. They practiced being good listeners and good companions. They are also committed to building themselves as a team by practicing the Community Agreements. The same thing was done by GITJ Tlogowungu with 194 children. On 19 April 2021, 20 people, consisting of staff, mentors, and adolescents, practiced affirming each other and being good listeners and good companions. The usual method  of teaching they are accustomed to  is lecturing, preaching, or asking questions through call-and-responses. The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) method is very different; everyone sits in a circle so everyone can see and hear each other. Participants are active, and  practice listening and speaking, reflecting and debriefing. Participants feel the AVP approach really trains them in life skills, and action skills. They feel that this material really helps them in their ministry, especially in the pandemic.

Good Listening 

… is nonverbal, in your muscles, face, and breathing.

  • Stop in your body and mind.
  • Turn towards the other.
  • Follow their meaning.
  • Imagine what life is like if what they say is true for them. 

Good Companion

A good companion is a good listener who:

  • Stays relaxed and non-anxious in your own core self.
  • Pays attention to the other’s goodness and capabilities in their core self.
  • Notes distresses in yourself to come back to later,
  • Helps the other return to the present after discharge.
  • Takes equal turns.

Dani Dermawan said that he felt blessed during the training session. Personally, this method is very helpful to him to start making changes in himself that can be an inspiration for others, through team building and child mentoring. 

Kristin Kasih said, this material is fun, not boring and brought himself to be more reflective.

Gagas Gagah, initially thought that the one-day training would be boring and the participants would check-out. Evidently, this training is very different and no one was sleepy. The training was very refreshing, fun, and touched the problems that are burdens and stresses in real life. He feels relieved and surprised because everyone could talk.

Pulihati Pintar said, “This is a new experience for me, and I feel happy. There is no distance between adolescents and adult facilitators. All people can talk and feel equal. There are no teachers and no pupils;  all become partners for speaking and listening to each other.”

Sujud Sempurna felt the tools in Creating Cultures of Peace helped him see deeper into himself.  “I became increasingly able to focus on what I can do. These tools make me stronger and more capable. I realized I am able, and I feel more confident. Another thing I’ve learned is to be a good listener. After this training, now I have to struggle to practice these tools in my daily life.”