My name is Yasmine MS Soraya. I am from Jakarta, Indonesia. Right now, I work at the Trade Union Rights Centre, a centre for research and advocacy on labor rights. It has been almost two years since I have known WYA . The first time I got information on WYA from my friend, I was instantly interested in the internship program in New York. I thought it was a very good, important program for youth like me to be involved in. The program is divided into training, project development and project assessment in which I believe a lot of experiences and valuable knowledge for the youth will be gained. Even though I didnât do the internship, I still kept training with WYA. From the training, I got deeper knowledge on the organization and on the youth.
One of the important elements in WYA is the Charter. From the charter, I can see how WYA describes some basic principles for the youth to better understand, including freedom, dignity, solidarity and human rights. In my opinion, these basic principles must be known to us as young people, so we can understand who we are. We realize that the purpose of our life can be found wherever we are and in how we live our life – by doing something meaningful and making a change in the world. It is very interesting for all human beings, youth in particular, no matter where you are, what you are and what faith you have, these principles are basic in living ones life.
Take me as an example. I have faith in God as a Moslem. Similar to all religions in the world, Islam teaches us to live as a good person in the world. We are not taught bad things such as killing each other. As a Moslem, we have two purposes in this world; we must live the life in the world for God by doing His demands (praying, fasting, etc) and we must live the life in the world with respect for other human beings, no matter who and what they are and what faith they have. All Moslems have their freedom as a person to live their life. What may seem like borders to our freedom, such as no eating of pork, are actually reasonable guides that think of only the best for us.
Every Moslem has dignity and nothing or nobody can devastate that dignity. Islam teaches us to help people who need our hands, no matter who they are, being in solidarity with all people and living together with the community in peace and understanding. This is exactly what happened to my family. I come from a bi-religion family. My father is Catholic and my mother is Moslem. All of the children have been Moslem since they were born (including me). It may seem like we have picked the religion because of our parents, but as we grew older, we decided on our faith. I choose to be Moslem. We live in an understanding and peaceful home. We respect our father in living his faith and my father respects us too. Sometimes we celebrate Christmas or Eidâl Fitr together. I thank God I grew up in a family with various religions and cultures. It has opened my mind, allowing me to accept the diverse cultures and being in solidarity with those different from me also.
Islam teaches and protects the rights of human beings. Islam has guides on how to live in the world, responsibilities that we believe are made to protect the rights of children, women, and men. I believe all religions have a similar foundation when it comes to life. The WYA Charter describes the basic principles that we should affirm as human beings, without differentiating religion, ethnicity, and nationality. Most importantly, the WYA develops a spirit within each young person to become better in everything he or she does in life.
Yasmine MS Soraya is a WYA member from Indonesia. She is a freelance photographer who loves to travel.