By Alma Dhiafira, president of the Rotaract Club of Darmo Raya, Surabaya, Indonesia
During my year as president of my Rotaract club, we decided to put on a ludruk. It is a type of theater from East Java that includes music, jokes, and drama performed in the Surabaya dialect.
We’ve done a ludruk once before, working with our partner Rotary Club of Surabaja-Darmo. But I was particularly excited this time because we would be spreading the message that literacy is fun.
I have the honor of serving as our district’s literacy ambassador. And I have found that when some people think about literacy, they immediately think of reading books. And they find that boring.
Learning need not be dull
But literacy does not have to be dull at all. Literacy is about learning. It is about giving people knowledge that can empower them to change their lives and circumstances. By using a ludruk, we were able to show that learning can be fun, and show off something that is uniquely Indonesian.
It was also the city of Surabaya’s 725th anniversary. So we got together with the governor of our Rotary district, Hermanto Angka, and all the Rotary clubs in the area, to make our project bigger. We even invited then U.S. Consul General Heather Variava to perform a short skit about the student exchange experience.
I knew the Consul General because she and I both have taken part in a Rotary Youth Exchange and we have previously talked about our experiences. In her skit, she plays an exchange student who is struggling to fit in to her host country because she is embarrassed by her own national identity. The skit sent a message that we should be proud of our national heritage and work to be good representatives of our country.
What will you do?
Our ludruk went smoothly. By working with important people in our community, we were able to raise awareness and show that young people can work together to make a difference. We donated the proceeds of our event to the community. We also awarded Heather Variava with a Paul Harris Fellow recognition for all her support and achievements as a diplomat.
Both Rotaract and Rotary provide so many opportunities to get involved. It’s up to us what we do with them. Perhaps you can use your platform to unite business leaders and artists in your community to do good.