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Robi Navicula: GINKalimantan Helps Kids Become Change Makers

A GAIA DISCOVERY exclusive with Robi Navicula, leader of GINBali, who calls for support in the upcoming GINKalimantan conference from 16-18 September 2016. Contributed by Kayti Denham.

Bali, 22 August 2016. Robi Navicula is one of GINBali’s founders and a leading voice in the growing Balinese youth empowerment and human rights movement. Known in Indonesia as the energetic and politically motivated lead singer of grunge rock band Navicula, Robi has used his passion and talent for music to provide a platform for his other interests, particularly environmental and human rights issues in his home country of Indonesia.

GAIA DISCOVERY first met Robi Navicula about six years ago after he had spent time in Padang, West Sumatra on a disaster management project following a devastating earthquake. We caught up with him recently in Ubud, Bali to find out more about the GINKalimantan Global Issues Networking Conference and what it will offer young students of Indonesia and South East Asia.

Going from music outreach to youth conferences, Robi Navicula is bent on getting as many Balinese students to attend GINKalimantan, and he needs your support!“GIN is about networking, I think that is the vital part, from my own experience I look around at the people I work with now, film makers, change makers... all sorts of people! Most of them I had met when I was in high school. Some of them were already on their paths as leaders while others like me were in the dreaming process, looking for ways to create what we knew we were capable of creatively and also searching for a change that would brighten our futures.

If you look at it the GIN conferences are very much about capacity building, introducing the concept of real possibilities... the feeling that you can get support in leading with new ideas or be a part of a movement that is wanting a better future. It’s natural that young people want to see a better situation on this planet - they are the agents of change and they own tomorrow.”

So what we want to know then is how does the conference 'work'?

“The conferences align to the UN development goals, so there is a solid platform, and they are made up of workshops and presentations designed to inspire young people to work in areas they are passionate about and to use that passion to promote change, bring awareness and influence their own schools and local communities to become engaged in social, global and environmental awareness. '

I mean you can’t think about changing things if you are not aware about what is going on. In the beginning when we started our band we had ideas; we wanted to make music that appeal to people. As kids we were still learning about the world and how to achieve success through our combined passion of music.

As we grew to learn more about the world, as we traveled and witnessed change, we recognised that we could use the medium of music for an even greater message than we had thought. It’s that kind of awareness that grows from within, and this is what GINConferences do - they encourage young people to act on their passions and develop their skills. Adding to that,  the conferences give them educational experiences in developing something that they can take back to their own communities. “

And you lead a workshop..

“As a musician the workshop I facilitate is called Journey of Song. This is our third year with the concept and I can honestly say each year surprises me more. For the  first Journey of Song Kodi Twiner from the film Rise of the Eco Warriors and I  introduced human rights issues and within hours the students had created a song that sent chills, and they performed it that night, no one who heard that song will ever forget its message, and I wondered how the next workshop would be, would it be possible to reach that pinnacle of combined creativity with the next group of students, but you know what, with Laureen Jeammes, a French vocalist and  Kosal Kiev, the exiled Cambodian performer poet as collaborators the students again excelled, bringing together a really cool song of empowerment “I am, you are, we are” that I hope they are still singing out there. I think it’s on You Tube “

What are you most excited about for this year's conference?

“I think the location, in the forests of Borneo, is amazing. Borneo Nature Foundation as hosts are providing the conference with an opportunity to get close to some of the issues that get discussed. But what really excites me is our latest initiative to have Balinese students attend the conference. This requires financing. We have a big investment here in the future, and if it is only available to the financially advantaged then we are not operating right. Previous conferences were in Bali and local students were invited to attend at very minimal cost. This year we have this great location and a community of young Dayak people attending, young people from Java and Sumatra. We need for the Balinese community to get the opportunity to network with their peers on issues of regional and global importance.

We are raising funds for their airfares and accommodation and we are asking for US$500 per student, which is a good investment. The students who are coming are very keen to participate; they were chosen from local schools in Denpasar, Gianyar Regency and Karangasem.

There’s an event happening in Ubud on the 2nd of September at Paradiso - Evening of Island Sounds. It is a community fundraiser through music and an opportunity for students intending  to attend the conference to meet and network beforehand. We are especially hoping that the event will inspire people to support them through the crowdfunding platform. This is sort of personal to me too as I am Balinese. I have had some great opportunities and I see other Balinese kids, maybe a bit like me before, so eager for learning and knowledge, and I am really into the idea of owning a better future for all Balinese people. So that excites me, for my future too, knowing that there is a generation growing up who are looking to build on my generation's legacy in creating an inclusive, caring society that respects the rights of farmers and the rural population and that desires accessible education for all.”

Powerful words, thank you Robi. For people reading this but not able to get to Ubud on 2nd of September, how can they help?

“There’s a website Generosity - there’s a link that is accessed through the GINKalimantan facebook page, you can read more about the whole GINKalimantan conference there too.”

To discover the music of Navicula visit and for Robi’s solo work

GINKalimantan Fundraiser - Make a donation to ensure kids get to this amazing conference!

Watch Navicula's highly graphic video on anti-corruption.

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