This is the lates update kisara on The Jakarta Post
Kisara reminds young people to be faithful on Valentine’s Day
Wasti Atmodjo, , The Jakarta Post – Youthspeak , Denpasar, Bali | Wed, 02/04/2009 3:06 PM | Education
Teen volunteers collect signatures from their peers to support Kisara youth activities (Courtesy of Kisara)
Although Valentine’s Day is not rooted in Bali, teenagers have been hearing the hype about it for some time. It gives many organizations and government institutions the chance to call on teenagers to remain faithful to their boyfriends or girlfriends.
One such group is the not-for-profit Kita Sayang Remaja (We care for teenagers – they go by Kisara) which focuses on juvenile problems in Bali. Formed in 1994, the organization works with junior-high and high-school volunteers to implement Kisara initiatives to benefit their peers.
“We have to know what’s in among teenagers. It won’t hurt to take part in celebrating Valentine’s Day in a positive way,” I.G.N. Pramsemara told youthspeak. He’s been a Kisara activist since 2002.
Every Feb. 14, Kisara hands out white roses to young people walking along Denpasar’s main thoroughfares, shopping centers or tourist attrations.
“White is the symbol of purity, of faithfulness. We want to remind teenagers to be faithful…. We’re concerned about the risk of frequently changing partners and about the spread of sexually transmitted diseases [STDs],” said Pram, a doctor at Udayana University.
Kisara’s activities are not just a once-a-year thing. They actively campaign about the risk of multiple sexual relationships, drugs abuse, and HIV/AIDS for teenagers on World Youth Day and World AIDS Day as well as at school gatherings and seminars. They often work hand-in-hand with the AIDS Prevention Commission in Bali, the education agency, the National Family Planning Board and the media.
Kisara cofounder Oka Negara, a physician, said many teenagers misunderstood the meaning of Valentine’s Day, which he thought was only a reminder that people have to love each other.
Today they are looking at Valentine’s Day as the moment to show their partners the intensity of their love. “In the past five years, many teenagers called us, just before Valentine’s Day, looking for information on first sexual intercourse. Most are girls, and they say their boyfriends are asking them to take the big step on Valentine’s Day. Some of them also have been asking our advice on how to say no.”
Although there is no ongoing research about what leads Bali’s teenagers to have sex before marriage, Oka said there was pertinent data based on a national survey in 2006.
“Fifteen to 20 percent of teens nationwide had had sexual intercourse out of wedlock; 15 million teenage girls between 15 and 19 years old give birth every year. Out of 2.3 million abortions carried out in Indonesia every year, 20 to 30 percent of them are performed on teenagers.
“The survey also found that Denpasar, along with Jakarta, Mataram, Surabaya and Yogyakarta are the five top cities with the highest teen pregnancy figures,” Oka said.
Kisara did a second survey of their own in 2007 following up on their earlier 2003 survey. They posed questions to young people between 15 and 17 years of age in Badung, Denpasar, Gianyar and Tabanan. They found that 3 out of every 10 teenagers in Bali reported they had had sex, significantly higher than the 23.75 percent positive response in 2003.
A survey on HIV/AIDS prevention for high school students in the four cities found only 38.98 percent know how the virus is transmitted and fewer than 50 percent know how to prevent it.
”All parties should take part in educating young people, and the general public, on this issue,” Oka said.
He also said Kisara was currently handling five to 10 counseling sessions a day, through telephone, email or face-to-cafe consultations. Around 25 percent of the problems teens discuss with them is related to sexual activity.
The lack of accurate information from people they can trust, he said, leaves teens no choice but to look for information from the Internet, other media, or their peers.
“Unresolved problems could cause mental illness, even the urge to commit suicide,” Oka said.
In answer to the problem, Kisara established its integrated youth center with its main program DAKU! (Dunia remajaku seru! or My colorful teen life!). The multimedia learning program has been used in 15 high schools in Denpasar already to get teens up to speed through extracurricular activities.
Kisara also has a medical clinic for teenagers and the media and conducts networking, empowerment and training programs.
“We want our youth center to be a second home for teenagers, a forum for them to get involved in positive activities with teenagers from other provinces as well as from other countries,” said Oka