Children and teenagers are the most important layers of society to the Sacred Bridge Foundation. They are the ones who will inherit both the good and the bad of what we do today. Children today grow up in the midst of dense populations, consumerism, crime & violence, advancement of information technology, intense competition, and an ever widening gap between the fortunate and the unfortunate. Ultimately, it must be very challenging for the young to survive this socio environmental wilderness.
Indications of unfavorable changes in how the young generation thinks and behaves have already appeared. Lacking social solidarity, being materialistic, environmental unfamiliarity, wanting things the easy way, and neglecting their own culture are the emerging characteristics that we see increasingly everyday. If they were not equipped with the good basics, then they would survive the future through unimaginable ways. It was out of this concern that Sacred Bridge in 2001 proposed special programs to address such a threat.
Hugging The City
Unlike in old times, urban children today are unfamiliar with the cities they live in. Limited public spaces, relatively high crime rates, longer school hours, poor public transportation, and all-day heavy traffic have limited their movement and mobility. As a result, in many instances, shopping malls have become the only option to have “fun”.
Having fun in this case is not just all play, but more on the learning side by observing, experiencing, sharing, and thinking creatively. From our perspective, anything that surrounds us is a wilderness. It offers and/or imposes on us both good and bad things. The minute we are born is the minute we enter the wilderness. Living is about surviving this wilderness; so, being familiar with it, is the primary prerequisite.
In this program, children age 9 to 17 years are guided in a series of cultural pilgrimages to recognize and feel the significance of their city, learning about and discovering roots, history, opportunities and threats. By comprehending such significance, hopefully the children will be not only possessing cultural identity, but also become able to confront all the potentials (good and bad) and materialize them into benefits to themselves and society.
So far the program has covered the following areas: Taman Prasasti Museum, Sunda Kelapa Port, Senayan Sport Arena, Cikini Traditional Market, Surabaya Street Antiques, Sumenep Street Fish & Aquarium, Lauser Park, Kota Train Station and vicinity, Ciliwung River, Textile Museum, Karang Tengah Reserved Park and Depok. The total number of children participating is over 200.
Hugging The Nature
Environment is not just urban, but also rural and natural. So in addition to getting to know the urban home, children are also encouraged to experience their other homes. In this program, children learn how they should relate to the natural environment and its surrounding people. Here they learn the roles and function of nature in human life, and also the wisdoms found in the interrelationship between humans and nature through the people who interact with it in their daily lives. In the field, the children work together with their local counterparting peers. Cibodas National Park, Carita Reserved Park, Candi Dasa, and Ubud are among the places where the program was implemented.