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  • Writer's pictureVanda Meriana Tangel

The Power is In Our Hand – Educating Children to Create a Better Future.

Indonesia is facing major challenges related to the problem of plastic waste. In Indonesia, 600,000 tons of plastic waste are thrown into the sea every year. As a result, coral reefs, that provide shelter for 25% of the marine species in the world, are being covered by plastic and dying from lack of sunlight. Not only are the coral reefs dying because of plastic pollution, according to the Zero Waste Centre, 230.000 Indonesians die every year due to plastic pollution. The human race is slowly poisoning itself – studies have found microplastics in breast milk, placentas, heart tissue and blood.

 

One non-profit organization, Mudfish No Plastic, under the leadership of Mora Siregar has been working to combat plastic pollution in Indonesia by educating the younger generation. For the past six years, Mudfish No Plastic has been running environmental education workshops for students and teachers at Middle Schools, High Schools, and Universities that stress the importance of reducing the use of single-use plastic, and importance of responsible waste management. The program is based on the conviction that by educating students and teachers it will reach a wider audience that includes parents, families, and entire villages. To date, Mudfish No Plastic has held more than 290 workshop programs for more than 9,000 students, teachers and villagers in Bali and other regions in Indonesia.


"The Power is in Our Hands" lectured by Mora Prima Siregar

Recently, the work of Mora Siregar was recognized by the Nuanu Social Fund which published the results of research on 300 individuals involved in projects addressing issues such as poverty, inequality, climate change and environmental protection. The aim of the research was to identify and rank individuals who are leading efforts to improve the quality of life and protect the environment -- Bali Changemakers. Mora was ranked 2nd in terms of positive contributions to society, and 5th as the most well-known leader among individuals working for social change in Bali.

 

This recognition was something that Mora never imagined possible when she was growing up. As Mora explains, “My mother was constantly telling me to become a teacher or work as a government employee, to have a “safe” job with a secure income. But somehow, I ended up becoming an environmental educator at a non-profit organization, which made my mother even more upset, because according to mom, it's not a real job. But we are not obliged to do what our parents expect. Some of us are fortunately able to follow our own path and find work we love.”


Education is the key to stop the never ending clean-up

Mora was 27 years old when she moved to Bali and became aware of the plastic pollution problem. She realized that any solution to clean up the environment would be difficult to achieve because the majority of people ignored the problem. Moved by her belief that pollution was destroying her country and slowly killing animals and humans, Mora began her educational program.

 

The Mudfish No Plastic program, which originally only dealt with plastic pollution has expanded to deal with another important social issue. According to UNESCO, children need to be given comprehensive sexuality education from adolescence. However, education about sexual health is still considered taboo by many Indonesians and research conducted by Durex Indonesia on Reproductive and Sexual Health shows that 84 percent of teenagers aged 12-17 years have not received sex education. The new workshops that Mudfish No Plastic offer include a curriculum that provides women with menstrual health awareness and also explores the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality. The goal is to expand women’s self-awareness and expand their choices and opportunities in life.

 

Mora is truly a Balinese Changemaker, and her personal goal is to become an even better educator and to reach many more people to spread awareness about important environmental, health and personal issues that impact our country and our lives.

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