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Speakers Inspire With Talks on Art, Social Issues and Science at TEDxJakarta

Jakarta. Eight inspiring women who have devoted their lives to the arts, social issues and science, spoke during the 12th iteration of TEDxJakarta on Saturday (10/06).

TEDx is a program for local, self-organized events devoted to bringing people together and spreading ideas through dynamic presentations and performances.

"We dream that TEDxJakarta could be a revolutionary knowledge lab where cross-area learning can occur freely," said Florentina N. Saputra, co-organizer of TEDxJakarta.

The theme of the event was "Niyata," the Sanskrit root of the Indonesian word nyata, which means real, true and distinct. Florentine said the idea behind Niyata's visual concept comes from the realization that society often denies reality.

"The internet and new technologies, such as virtual reality, are detaching us from the realities we face every day. With this event, I hope we can reflect back to that moment where looking back is also important for the continuance of our lives in the future," she said.

The full-day event, which took place at Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, featured speakers from diverse backgrounds such as researchers, scientists, activists and artists. The speakers were Mirza Kusrini, Anindya Krisna, Firly Savitri, Intan Suci Nurhati, Dian Ara, Adi Utarini, Faye Hasian Simanjuntak and Bunda Iffet.

Firly Savitri, chief executive and co-founder of Young Indonesian Scientists (IMI), started the event with a fun presentation by showing the audience how to make a rocket from baking soda and vinegar.

Firly took great delight when the rocket was launched and she began to talk about science education in the country. She cited statistics showing that Indonesia ranks 40th among 42 countries in science literacy.

"Ninety-eight percent of public and private schools in Indonesia do not have adequate science facilities. Students only learn about science from their teachers and textbooks," she said.

To address the science education crisis in Indonesia, IMI created cost-effective, mobile and experiential science learning tools for classrooms. The company provides portable science kits such as Mobile Planetarium, Kitchen Science Experiment, and Lab in a Box.

"We want to educate people, especially students and school teachers that science tools can also be found around us. We also use plastic bottles, rubber bands and some secondhand materials with our portable kits," Firly said.

In her presentation, 15-year-old activist Faye Hasian Simanjuntak spoke about child sex abuse and human trafficking in Indonesia. She is the founder of Rumah Faye, an organization dedicated to fighting child trafficking and sexual abuse.

Faye said her passion for helping victims of abuse and human trafficking started six years ago when she and her mother visited orphanages and pubic houses in Jakarta. The idea of Rumah Faye was sparked when she learned about the sexual exploitation of children.

"I found out that 43.5 percent of the [estimated] 150,000 children that are trafficked in Indonesia every year are younger than 14 years of age. It's scary to know that many of them are the same age as me," she said.

"Human trafficking happens in our communities and happens within walking distance from us. It's time we realize that it's a problem. Sex should not be a taboo; sex education is important not only for children with the means to an education but for everyone," Faye said.

Besides the presentations, the audiences also enjoyed TEDTalks video presentation by former assistant casting director Kate Adams and British comedian, James Veitch.

TEDxJakarta has been inspiring and curating great minds since 2009. Previous speakers include Jakarta Governor-elect Anies Baswedan, body builder Ade Rai, popular television character Pak Raden and dance maestro Didik Ninik Thowok.

Read more: http://jakartaglobe.id/features/speakers-inspire-with-talks-on-art-social-issues-and-science-at-tedxjakarta/