A Postcard from Benny: SDG What/why/how?

Benny continues to amaze us with his commitment to creating a positive impact—so we’ve been supporting his efforts as a local sustainability teacher and activist, and he’s been sending us “Postcards from Benny” to share the positive impacts he’s been busy growing.

“Hi, Benny here again! When I was a kid, my father was working as a tourist guide in Biak Papua. At the time, just a few people knew how to speak English (including my father). He helped me to improve my English when I was in elementary school. In 2007, my father passed away, so now I live with my Mom and my three brothers.

Living without a father is difficult. After school, my brothers and I always help our mom with all of the work she does at home, including the vegetable garden she planted with potatoes, corn, and more. She is a very strong woman. 

After I finished senior high school, I received a scholarship from the Papua government to study at Haluoleo University in Southeast Sulawesi to be an English teacher. I studied hard and loved reading literature. 

In 2015, I received another scholarship to study international relations with the Indonesia-China Youth Exchange Program. It was my first time traveling overseas in a different culture. For three weeks I learned about the culture, economy and education system in China, and how to apply these things back at home. 

In 2019, I was chosen out of 300 applicants as one of 10 participants in the Indonesia Young Leaders Programme. I was the first lucky one to represent my Waryesi Community and Papua province. I spent six months in Auckland, New Zealand learning about sustainable development, community organizing, public policy and engaging with government, climate change, environmental management, conflict resolution and reconciliation, gender justice, inclusive development, and further improving my use of the English language.

When I returned home, I used my experience to educate my Waryesi community. I focus on educating youth about climate change and its impact on Pacific people like us. I’m using education models from New Zealand to compare and improve education in Papua province.  I also work on waste management, and we’ve built an English course that uses media to teach a foreign language.”