Power of Goodness

The Power of Goodness in West Papua

Prepared by Kins Aparece & Petrus

Blanket Game in Yoboi. Thea is standing wearing a red shirt. 

The Context

The people of Papua were colonized by the Dutch, who retained control after WWII by arguing that the Papuans were a separate ethnic group from the Indonesians. Since 1963 when Indonesia took control of Papua, a strong independence movement has persisted in Papua. West Papua has suffered long-standing violence, resource exploitation, and discrimination by the Indonesian government, supported by the U.S. and Australian governments. Persistent injustice, execution of leadership, and disruption of development pose cruel challenges for the people to meet the demands of their society and their dignity. Learning the skills and tools of peace and nonviolence invests in development while maintaining demands for justice, which peace requires.

Over half a century of violence touches the heart of anyone who gets to know the Papuans and their suffering. In 2015, Australian Friends offered scholarships to Papuan peace workers, who began attending the International Peace Training at Peace Place.

Rory began attending the International Peace Training at Peace Place in 2017, and Thea joined her in 2018 and 2019. They practiced skills to support the movement of nonviolence through the church in Jayapura. They connect the skills of peace and nonviolence to scripture study with a focus on nonviolence in the family, peace education among children, in the family, and the church, with a campaign for justice for women and children in Papua.

The Power of Goodness

Power of Goodness collects stories from the lives of real people that depict instructional moments in how to rely on the power of goodness in stressful situations and the amazing results of doing so.  It aims to inspire readers, listeners, viewers, and participants to act with courage and bring goodness into their lives.  The events are much shorter and can cater to a larger number of participants. The lead facilitator, who has participated in the Cultures of Peace Workshop (AVP series) and in the Power of Goodness orientation training, effectively runs these short events with a team.

Dorothea “Thea” Rumere shared with us that the training they had in Pati changed them a lot. Thea emphasized that they commit to share the tools learned in Pati with their community. In 2018, Thea and Rory also did the Power of Goodness orientation training with Nadine and the North Caucasus team in Pati, Indonesia.

In Yoboi, Thea introduced peace tools like stopping and good listening to the children. She witnessed how they changed and settled in themselves. This experience also gave them motivation to continue the practice and share it with their family and friends.

Beginning of 2020, the West Papuan team started communicating more often with Friends Peace Teams. They were asking for support in terms of crafting agendas for mini-workshops.  Thea also registered for the Online Cultures of Peace Facilitators’ Training held every two weeks.  However, lack of internet access and lockdown restrictions deterred her from continuing. 

As a way forward, Kins held consultation chats with her over WhatsApp and virtually when possible. They decided to support Thea to work with children. Thea wanted to do Power of Goodness events in two places: Yoboi, a rural area where she had already introduced the peace tools; and Jayapura, an urban area in Rory’s neighborhood. 

To move forward,  we decided to treat the Power of Goodness events as an experiment to explore ways to work together more closely.  We will help Thea secure a good internet connection so we can communicate more reliably.  She needs support in adapting the Power of Goodness agendas to the situation of the pandemic. Kins and Thea have a support call weekly, every Tuesday at 1 pm Jayapura time.  We initially agreed that she and the team would organize six Power of Goodness events. Friends Peace Teams will provide a small stipend to her for organizing.

Rory, Kins and Thea at the 2019 International Peace Training

Initial Steps and Needs

Weekly consultation meetings, June – August 2020, only need internet connection
One-time internet connection fee, she applied but is on a waitlist, need 1,000,000.00 IDR (AU$100)
Power of Goodness Events, July – September 2020, for 20 events need *100,000 IDR = 2,000,000 (AU$200)
Monthly internet fee, July-September, need 75,000*3 = 225,000.00 IDR (AU$22.50)
This is a total of 3,225,000 IDR (322.50 AUD). 

We agreed to advance stipend for 600,000 IDR (AU$60). Thea will update Kins after every event to include pictures, stories, and short feedback and adaptations she made on the prepared community agenda. Her feedback will help us test the modules and look into Power of Goodness activity adaptations in the time of COVID-19. She will also send the news to Friends Peace Teams regularly. Sign up for news at FriendsPeaceTeam.org.

Future Perspective

Doing the Power of Goodness events with children is what we call “an entry point” for the West Papua Team around which they see each other regularly to do “the real” work, practice peace and justice in the communities. The West Papua Team can then expand to AVP workshops and facilitators training, in person or online, as they build their skills and confidence. Occasionally, they may come to Pati, Central Java, for specialized training, or a trainer may go to support them in West Papua. Traveling from Jayapura to Pati, Central Java is not cheap. However, the ultimate gain is mutual discernment and learning from the work of justice and peace in West Papua and solidarity in their struggle.