No stranger to the Award, Michaela was in the midst of completing her Gold Award when the quarantine was introduced in Indonesia. This sudden change challenged her to be resourceful and resilient, postponing wasn’t an option – not when her Gold Award was within such close reach.

Mere days before quarantine and lockdown came into effect, Michaela was already frequenting a refugee centre in Central Jakarta, teaching languages to refugees from the Middle East. 

The enforcement of social distancing has halted her teaching to the refugees as part of her Voluntary Service section of the Award programme. However, this Youth Science and Innovation Fair (YSIF) Gold Medallist of 2018 was not to be deterred.   

Honestly, there are a lot of things and events that are needed to be delayed or cancelled in which some of them are related to community service. This pandemic has forced me to stop teaching the Persian-speaking refugees in Jakarta because of the imminent danger. Therefore, I am trying my best to help and adjust my daily activities to be more efficient and beneficial, even though it is must be done from home. 

Stuck at home, Michaela shifted her Voluntary Service and decided to make masks, something many people in Indonesia were short of during the early days of quarantine. Besides donating her masks to those in need around her local community, she also did online tutoring for younger students. 

Honing skills and doing physical exercises at home has made it difficult for her to discuss progress with her Assessors, but online tools such as the Online Record Book (ORB) have helped her bridge the gap as she states:

It is a burden, being not able to see face to face with instructors for my Award activities, yet I am capable of adjusting with this new way of completing the Awards.

Hard work, dedication, and commitment came to fruition as Michaela was able to finish her Gold Award journey and received her certificate during her school’s 70th Anniversary Celebration and Virtual Award Ceremony on the 18 of July 2020. 

Michaela Samantha - Indonesian Award participant

Completing her Gold Award during the COVID-19 Pandemic brought more challenges than ever, but here’s what Michaela had to say: 

  • The Award centres around young people and their communities: 

“The Award program allows young people to grow and use their skills to help their communities. 

The Award really pushes youngsters to achieve their maximum potential and to utilize their talent. 

  • The Award adds more beyond the classroom: 

There are an ample amount of smart people in this world, but what matters is how they use their intellect. I am well aware of this, therefore as a human, I am highly convinced communication, analysis, creativity, critical thinking, experiences, and practical skills are crucial. The Award has helped to provide these skills. 

  • The Award becomes a beacon of change for other young people: 

The Award has become the fuel of several on-going community activities in which youngsters help their community from home.