VOPI Founder: The Need to Provide Support for Children Trapped in Criminal Cases

LINTAS BISNIS – VOPI has inspired several hundred thousand children in Indonesia and has held peace events in more than 70 cities in the Republic. The mission of the Visions of Peace Initiative (VOPI) is to facilitate young people aged 5 to 18 years to express their vision of peace and tolerance through creative and artistic modalities.

Princess Cheryl Halpern, as the International founder of the Visions of Peace Initiative said, “We need to help our young people cross the growing gap between the end of childhood and the start of their adult lives. We need to help them develop into the responsible adults that they need to be and as the vanguard of the future that society needs them to be.”

The Visions of Peace Initiative encompasses the Ethic of Reciprocity, also known as the Golden Rule, a universal value that is essential to civic social behavior. This Ethic of Reciprocity teaches us to, ‘Do To Others What You Want To Have Done To Yourself and Never Do To Others What You Wouldn’t Want To Have Done To Yourself’. This is a universal value that has found expression for thousands of years in the teachings of all faiths. This is also a concept that is in the heart of Indonesia’s motto, ‘Unity in Diversity,’ because without respecting diversity in a family and community there will be no unity in a nation. However, this important pillar of civic conduct is not being taught effectively to young people today.

Princess Cheryl Halpern continued,
“Unfortunately, society is not doing enough to teach our youth the lessons of responsibilty that adulthood requires. We do not provide them with the support necessary to turn away from criminal behaviour and live lives that are healthy both physically, mentally, and communally.”

The Visions of Peace Initiative encourages young people to channel their ideas and share their perspectives on tolerance and peaceful coexistence through a wide spectrum of the arts that make it possible to bridge social, economic, religious and ethnic differences.

Prince KPAA Dr. Damien Dematra, explained “We hope that holding these Visions Of Peace Initiative events in the Children’s Detention Centers can help bring peace to these youthful offenders so that they will be inspired to be better adults. They can make the personal changes that are necessary.”

These VOPI series of events was celebrated in recognition of International Family Day and assisted the children at both LPKA Tangerang and LPKA Jakarta.

“I want to express my thanks and acknowledge the progressiveness of the Indonesian Juvenile Justice to have allowed the Visions of Peace Initiative to be here and to engage with the young offenders. This cooperative program reflects the serious commitment by juvenile justice and the Visions of Peace Initiative to invest in these young people and promote their rehabilitation and reintegration into mainstream society. Youth crime is a social responsibility that we all must address. We must continually ask ourselves what can we do to give the young people in our communities hope for themselves and for our future.” concluded Princess Cheryl Halpern.

In recognition of these extraordinary peace efforts, the Association of Indonesian Citizen Journalists (AJWI) presented the VOPI with a special People’s Journalist Awards.