“I think that being a changemaker doesn’t mean being a changemaker for yourself, but being a changemaker means helping others be changemakers, too. We have to inspire other young people to be themselves and be changemakers.” Angela and her team of peers work together to shift mindsets around changemaking to encourage young people to see themselves as leaders, rather than followers. Anchored around developing one's self-concept, confidence, and self-awareness, Angela is determined to live in a country where everyone is able to reach their potential and thrive. Her story demonstrates how young people across Indonesia are able to recognize their own power and dare others to lead young.
Angela Ana Clemence Lesmana, now 15, remembers a time when she was unaware and apathetic toward social problems facing her community in Surabaya, Indonesia. She remembers thinking to herself that “if it was not my problem, then just let it be, right?” In Grade 7, when she was entrusted to be a “class administrator”, she experienced bullying. She tried to talk to her friends about bullying, but did not feel heard.
Angela went to her teacher and mentor, Mr. Martinus, looking for help on how to talk about her experience with her peers. Mr. Martinus challenge Angela to develop her own self-concept, or the collection of beliefs about oneself. He encouraged her to realize her own potential and develop the confidence she needed to think deeply about her own purpose and responsibilities. Exemplifying the adaptability of young people, Angela’s attitude shifted when she was pushed to think beyond herself.
Mr. Martinus, also challenged Angela and her peers to thinking critically about their school environment in order to feel responsibility and ownership of their school. When asked to be more aware of her surrounding, Angela began to notice her peers engaging in negative, unproductive behaviors, such as smoking, cheating in school, bullying, and posting negative content on social media. Instead of feeling apathetic, Angela now felt determined and prepared to take action.
Angela believes that young people often feel left out due to a lack of agency. When power and decisions are centered around adults, she notes that young people feel excluded and powerless. As a result, they do not pursue their unique ability to affect positive change.
In response, Angela launched Dare to Lead (DTL) to shift that paradigm and encourage young people, like herself, to recognize their unique potential as well as their rights and responsibilities in their community. Rather than engaging in negative behavior, Angela wants young people to change their community for the better. She believes that developing one's confidence, self-awareness, and self-concept is key to beginning that journey.
Today, Dare to Lead is a collaborative platform for individuals, local schools, and the community to ignite a generation of informed and engaged young people to critically think, adapt, and lead in a rapidly changing world. Instead of young people waiting around for adults to change the world, Angela wants young people to feel a sense of responsibility and the capability to make the change they want to see. "First you have to dare to dream," Angela says, "then you do."
Acting on her own dream, started a team with three core members, her friends, but the team has quickly expanded to 25 members co-leading the Dare to Lead movement. Angela and her team of peers enable young people to discover their love for learning and inner power through activities most meaningful to their passions. These activities include a self-actualization camp, a leadership boot camp, a young researcher club, an ecology club, social awareness training, mentorship, and health education campaigns for the community.
During their nature activities, like outbounds and hiking, young people learn how to be strong leaders while gaining a better understanding and appreciation for what the environment offers them and what young people must do for the environment in return. Through their programs, Dare to Lead engages more than 70 young people from different youth and religious organizations to understand their self and feel empowered to take charge of their future. From enabling young people to be able to stand up for themselves to organizing their own changemaking initiatives, Dare to Lead invites all young people to stand up and take action.
“Changemaking is not just about becoming a changemaker yourself, but inspiring other young people to join in, too.” Angela says. She believes that fostering the potential of her generation means supporting Indonesia’s development as a whole. Angela says that “young people must be brave to lead and go against the flow,” in order to find creative solutions will ignite a new, prosperous future for Indonesia and the world.