Becoming More: Nishrin’s Changemaker Journey
“You don’t have to be in the leadership position to make changes.” Community gives us a sense of belonging, and it also creates internal growth that inspires people to become more. Nishrin’s story illustrates how she finds a community that shares the same value for youth development, a community that ignites her intrinsic motivation to change, and a community that fosters a changemaking culture as she inspires other young people along the way.
“To become more curious? To become more innovative? Or to become more supportive?” Nishrin believes that the young generation is in a period of rapid change, so it is crucial to seize opportunities that help us and others to become more. Unfortunately, there is a growing divide between students across classrooms in Indonesia. Many ambitious young students are hindered from reaching their full potentials because of systematic barriers that prevent them from receiving the same opportunities and access to a quality education as peers who attend private schools.
It saddens Nishrin when she realizes some students her age are disregarded because of historic and geographic gaps rooted in Indonesia's educational system rather than their lacking capacities, talents, or skills. Recognizing the lack of high-quality education in different regions of Indonesia and her own privilege, Nishrin felt very unsatisfied and uncomfortable that she could receive a better education based on where she lived in her own country. So, she decided to start from within her own community and look for solutions outside of the school.
When Nishrin was 16, she was invited to attend her first major conference with a new youth-development organization in Jakarta. BecomeMore encourages young people to support, to share, and to speak up their ideas with other young people and professionals. At the first BecomeMore Conference in 2018, Nishrin found a community that shared similar youth development passions for equity and access. The founders of BecomeMore also observed the vast gap between the quality of counselling services between public and private schools in Jakarta. Many more opportunities, the founders discovered, are limited for college students and professionals. Therefore, conference participants and the coordinators expressed an urge to create more access to information and opportunities for young people.
Nishrin felt very connected and inspired after the conference, becoming even more motivated to make positive change. Joining BecomMore as an early core member became Nishrin's first step to break down barriers for accessing a quality education in every grade level. "I am very thankful that I have received something from my school, so I decided to take that and make it accessible to others who are not like me and had that opportunity."
After receiving support from parents, teachers, and affirmation from other students who attended the conference, the team decided to expand from an annual conference to "a community that is from youth, for youth, and by youth." They aspired to foster a truly inclusive community where young people across the country can collaborate and hold open conversations to inspire action, instead of receiving one-way communication where young people can only listen to adults and “leaders”. For the team, they wanted to turn what leadership means upside down by putting young people, their voices and ideas, at the forefront of social change.
With the help of social media, BecomeMore gained visibility and credibility quickly. It began to actively reach out and collaborate with organizations that also were commit to long-term, sustainable development for young people in Indonesia. As Nishrin becomes more affirmed and committed to her changemaking path, BecomeMore’s strategy also became more diverse. Today, the team hosts podcasts, coffee talks, workshops, community service, panels, and even fitness sessions with over 500 members from different school districts and backgrounds.
"When we grow, we gain both new perspectives and a larger sense of community that aims for something together." At the end of the day, what unites these young people, is the vision for youth development and the belief that they are capable of creating, competing, and fighting for equal access and opportunity. Therefore, despite facing a "fitting everything under one umbrella" dilemma, the members are still self-driven and self-motivated to run projects that require high time commitments. Nishrin describes this dedication as an intrinsic motivation that is unshakable.
BecomeMore is not just about the external contribution of the projects they manage. It is also about the internal growth of each member, volunteer, and staff member after they have been involved with BecomeMore. BecomeMore fosters a mentorship dynamic across ages. By talking more, sharing more, and collaborating more, everyone who's involved ultimately becomes more altogether. Together, they carve their changemaking paths and fill the blank of "BecomeMore____."
To Nishrin, yes, changemaking is about creating change, but changemaking can only sustain when there is a culture of changemaking. Being a changemaker herself, Nishrin has a greater mission. After stepping down from her role as president last year, Nishrin began to serve as an advisor of the organization. She supports aspiring young students by having conversations periodically, mentoring personal projects, and guiding young people to acquire the skills they need to lead and thrive. Therefore, BecomeMore is not only about how they “become more ____”, but it is also about how young people inspire and motivate their community to become more collaborative, equal, and of course, many more.
Despite being neither the founder nor the current president of BecomeMore, Nishrin still found her passion by participating in their programming, reflecting later that her first conference was her moment of commitment to being a changemaker. She wants to communicate the importance of the action and attitude over the title: "changemaker is not a position; it's something you do."
This story was written by Anastasia Zhang, LeadYoung Intern