Only very few things are more exciting than having the chance to determine your own future. This time, the chance came as a workshop called Riung Gunung, which invited children to create a city of their desires. This workshop was held by Sahabat Kota, a community that focuses on conducting activities that provides a fun way to educate children about urban environment, as a Selasar Kids Program and also as one of the pre-events of DesignAction.bdg.
As mentioned in the previous post, Riung Gunung completed the workshop last week and is currently having an exhibition of the results. At the opening, the participants (children aged 8-12) acted out the conditions and current problems of Bandung, and their wishes for this city are translated into concepts and models. This exhibition goes on at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space until July 21, 2013, and some highlights will be selected and exhibited again during DesignAction.bdg on October 1-3, 2013 at the conference venue, Bumi Sangkuriang, Bandung.
Riung Gunung workshop was an adventurous one. The kids were divided into groups that represent five regions of Bandung and were given a mission: to heal Sang Hyang Riung Gunung, a spirit that lives in Bandung who has been ill due to the current conditions of Bandung. In order to do that, they must gather Sang Hyang Riung Gunung’s six regents, who live in mountains that are surrounding the city of Bandung, which represent six sectors of a city: (1) marketplace and trading, (2) cleanliness and landfill, (3) nature and parks, (4) urban housing and neighborhood, (5) sports and health, and (6) balance of knowledge, environment and social aspects. They were to gather tokens of these regents and put the pieces together to complete a puzzle.
During this mission, the kids were taken to a high density neighborhood to talk to the local inhabitants about their daily lives and mobility. They had a ride on a train (which, in this case, was the kind of train commonly used by mid- and low-income people), went to a marketplace and a Puskesmas (a clinic or health center that normally serves low-income people). They also went to a landfill and recycling center and public parks, before walking up the tower of Gedung Sate (currently the office of West Java governor), to have a good view over the city of Bandung.
These kids made reports, noted down as much data as they could absorb by all their senses, expressed their wishes in poems and drawings, composed a dramatic storytelling performance and created a city according to their desires in three-dimensional miniatures of the city. All these materials can be viewed at the exhibition, including a documentary video that records their activities.
Viewed briefly, their main messages are not far from what we are longing for our own living environment: peaceful neighborhoods, fun public parks, a smooth transportation system, pleasant shops, maintained historical buildings, surrounded by lots of playgrounds, plants and trees, and friendly animals. This is the City of Bandung in 2035, the kind they decide to live in.
What’s most moving was to see, during the opening of the exhibition, how these kids could articulately explain their plans through all their models and reports, happily, and full of spirit. It is obvious that they are proud of their works! Let’s hope that they would fondly remember this experience, and also not forgetting the fun process of achieving all these results, when they reach the age of mature citizens of Bandung, when they would have already become professionals, who could make actual contributions to the city. Let’s hope that they remember their dreams and desires, make them happen with their own hands, and leave footprints that they can also be proud of!
- Salute to Sahabat Kota for the hard work and much respect to the volunteers who have pulled off this program successfully! 🙂