ARKI Teen Authors Award: Why is this Crucial?

ARKI 2016By Alifia Afflatus, 13, homeschooler from Indonesia

Back in 2015, I was writing to Homeschooling Teen about ARKI 2015 (Akademi Ramaja Kreatif Indonesia / Academy of Creative Youth Indonesia). For the readers who did not read the previous article yet, I’m about to explain, that it is an event where the education ministry and a major book publisher associated to invite teenagers from up to 20 provinces in Indonesia to receive awards in Jakarta. This year, the Indonesian education ministry and Mizan Publishing House came back to organize ARKI, the second round.

These selected authors and comic artists (60 selected from about 720 submissions) in October 2016 were coming to the capital city, without spending any fee, because the ministry defrayed these teens. In this event, me and the other teens were invited to join the 4 nights and 5 days of activities including receiving literature and art rewards from the ministry, fighting for the final competition, meeting the masters of literature and comics – and of course digging knowledge, obtaining new experiences and friends.

The interesting thing that featured in this year was the association with Keluarga Sebangsa (in English, I may define it as “the family from the same nation”) – a group of volunteers who’ve been the host families for ARKI finalists during the period of ARKI 2016 – with the purpose to develop tolerance to different ethnic, culture, and sharing kinship with new people from different parts of the nation.

For me, this kind of event is so important for every teen from every single corner of the world. In this article, I’m going to explain my opinion why a kind of event like this – not just working in literature or art field, can be various – would be absolutely crucial.

The reason number one is, appreciating teens for their achievements.

A lot of teenagers are not encouraged to learn new things, find their potential, and develop their talents because some adults don’t give them an opportunity to get appreciated. We see that in many countries – unexceptionally mine and yours – partially, teenagers don’t know what are they going to be in the future. They didn’t devise their future, having long-term plan, and others. It’s so important, because you are the architect of your own life. You cannot exactly know your future, because God takes place in making your exact future. But you – at least – can manage it, make your purpose, doing hardwork, make an image of what you wanna be in the future.

ARKI is where young authors and comic artists get appreciated for their talents and hard work in publishing remarkable works for their age. It boosts their courage to make better and advantageous masterpieces and works.

The second reason is to develop their potential. Yes, you can go take a course to sharpen your skill and talent, and hobby also. But this is a rare opportunity where you can meet the national or international experts who come to share with you, and open your horizon about a field that you are befriending – plus, you learn from them together with the other teens from a different part of your country.

Last time, we met Pidi Baiq and Iman Sholeh – two literature professionals in Indonesia, also Wahyu Aditya – an international animation master from Indonesia. When the teens directly met the masters, it indirectly inspired them to increase their knowledge, more and more, day by day.

What is next? Learn to compete. Life is not about losing to others, to win, to be the first. You are going to be the best for yourself. In an event like this, you are learning to plunge in a fair competition. Your rival is yourself; if you cheat, you don’t want to accept the defeat; if you are arrogant after you win, it means you lose. For me, I’m winning when I can fight my ego, and giving the best for myself. If I can, I try to present the best to others. Here is where we learn to compete – fight in the fair competition with your friends.

The next thing that I considered as an important point of this event, is getting new experience – obviously.

The first thing that simply made for a new experience was that we went on an edu-trip. It was cool to visit new places, acquire new knowledge and have fun.

You are living in such a camp (even though you spent nights in a hotel and host family`s house), where in particular aspects, the condition is so different from your home or your everyday school.

Your schedule may be rearranged, and the people around you – your room mates, your host family – who were probably strange to you, can help you to learn about adaption. I realize that adaptation is not convenient to some people. So when you frequently learn to do it, someday you will be easy when you’re insisted by the condition to live in a very different condition, tradition and vision, in short: contradictions.

This was what I feel when I was in ARKI. We slept in a hotel for two nights, with host family two nights. I have a room mate with different temperament and habits. My other friends, some are sensitive, some are easy-going – sometimes according to the province from which they came. Meanwhile in the host family, big changes of my habit happened in several days.

And the most crucial point, is teens who join such event like this, get the chance to learn about kinship, especially in the host family program. That you embrace strangers to be a part of your family, weave the proximity with the people you’ve never known before. It’s so worthwhile. Because in this crude and unstable life, sometimes we need strangers to help each other, in sticky situations. This program really helped me to practice things like that.

Now, I hope a lot of adults realize to organize an event with a similar concept – to develop the good character of teens, repairing their courtesy, appreciating them – because us – teenagers – are the future of the nation.


About the Author: “I’m a 13-year-old homeschooler (9th grader) from Semarang, Indonesia. I’ve been homeschooled for 2 years. I’m a blogger at and a monthly contributor on the homeschool site I enjoy writing about home education, children, teens, history, nature, politics, religion, social and travel.”

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