“The first time I met them, I was so afraid because I was afraid of people of other religions,” says Apipa, a young Muslim girl who was sent to stay with a Christian family in Indonesia.
Apipa’s stay was part of an exchange project created by an Indonesian social work group called Sabang Merauke.
In the video of Apipa and her host family’s experience together, Apipa says she initially regretted the stay in the first few days, because she was afraid her hosts would drag her to church.
Eventually, both sides warmed to each other, and tore down their mutual misconceptions.
“Tolerance should not just be spoken of but also felt,” says Apipa.
“Tolerance should not just be spoken of but also felt.”
One of the founders of Sabang Merauke, Ayu Kartika, is a Muslim former primary school teacher. She told Mashable the group’s aim is to bring kids from across Indonesia to stay with families in the capital of Jakarta.
Kartika said she was prompted to choose religion as a focal point because of the year she spent teaching in the remote Bacan Island in Indonesia’s North Maluku region.
There, villagers were separated into Christian and Muslim camps by the government after a riot broke out a decade prior.
The hatred from her camp toward the other side, despite not having any interactions, prompted her to set up the non-profit in order to battle the ignorance she witnessed.
The charity is funded by government, corporate and private donations. They sponsor the students’ stays in Jakarta of around three weeks each, and have so far identified 15 students this year for its programme.
[h/t Our Better World + Mashable ]