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Youth Space: ChangeMakers Spotlight #1

Welcome to my first feature spotlight organization for the Youth Change Makers Initiative: Youth Space from Indonesia! It was so exciting to have the opportunity to speak with these teen pioneers in the education sector who are both innovative and dedicated. 


I discovered this 501(c3)-registered nonprofit while coordinating a STEM outreach initiative for youth who are interested in uplifting marginalized students. After reaching out to the co-founders--Angelina L. M. Chuadrey, Yovela A. Krisalyn, and Noreen Aretha--I was inspired by their goals to foster a strong community of learning and growth.


Our Zoom meeting interview!


Three core values central to Youth Space’s mission are education, information, and empowerment.  Recently, they celebrated their 1st year of being in practice and have taken exponential steps toward expanding their mission. During this short time, Youth Space has partnered with over 56 students and over 46 schools.


By prioritizing equal educational rights, Youth Space leads initiatives such as a Youth 4 Youth care package drive; they also published a book about educational opportunities titled 'Everyday Superheroes'


Image from the YouthSpace website



Now, time for the fun part: the personal interview feature! I asked the founders of Youth Space several questions about their ambitions and origin story, which are transcribed and compiled below…


Question: What was your inspiration for starting your organization? 

“The idea to start this space came up in around January. I picked the education sector specifically to focus on simply because of my passion for the education field, and also my increasing concern about the problems going on and my society in Indonesia. 


Based on a Program for International Student Assessment, Indonesia is in the 74th position out of 79 in terms of student literacy skills. On top of that, the biggest problem in the Indonesian education system is the overall quality of education in addition to students who are not in school. The lack of qualified teachers, government resources, and restricted access to high-quality education tools are detrimental to education here. After going through research, I decided to reach out to Noreen and Yovela and discuss more about building our organization. After discussing for a few weeks, we decided to build an organization with a space or platform for youth to communicate, giving access to resources despite different backgrounds. 


We provide weekly English classes at orphanages around Indonesia, teaching over 60 students every week."


Question: What major issues or complications have you faced, and how did your team overcome them?

In response to setbacks they faced regarding funds and having access to adequate spaces for lessons, Youth Space pivoted and focused on fundraising programs. These ‘charity goals’ were used to distribute care packages to orphanages and impoverished communities during school visits. Programs to increase digital literacy gained over 500 participants, and these fundraisers were very successful despite previous challenges.


“We initially started teaching at one corporate orphanage, but we have since expanded to two more orphanages,” Angelina said. “Additionally, we are excited to introduce our new mascot, and also we're planning to conduct a new program for high school students to reach a virtual audience.”


The Youth Space team also has advice for aspiring young innovators and youth who want to make a difference in their community or on a global scale: 

“The first advice I would give is to start small and don't pressurize yourself to make something international right away. Maybe start a community cleanup or soup kitchen, but every small thing counts. I think the second one would be to reach out to others. I am sure we all know the quote---teamwork makes the dream work.


So you can't just do anything and everything by yourself. Go out there, collaborate with others, and use your voice.”



Image from Youth Space's website


Conclusion

Learning about Youth Space from Indonesia was a pleasure, and I am so grateful to students all over the world who are mobilizing in resistance to systemic issues entrenched within our society. Often, optimism is confused with ignorance in our unstable world, but the teen voice has always been a passionate, resonant force for change. 


Today, acknowledge the coalitions and spaces fostering community in your life; we deserve a space where education is accessible and promoted, so let's support individuals engaging in tireless advocacy.


Youth Space's Social Media + Contact Information



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