by: Dina Sri Lutfiana

I am a daughter, born as the eldest child with two twin younger brothers. Since sixteen years old, I studied in pesantren as well as Senior High School of PP (Pondok Pesantren) Mukhtar Syafaat Darussalam, Blokagung, Banyuwangi. In pesantren, I learned a lot about Islamic teaching, prayer and other religious learning in a separate learning environment between male and female students. The situation changed when I was elected as the member of OSIS (School Students Association). Since then, we were allowed to interact with santriwan (male students of Islamic Boarding School) because of the organization activities.

I come from Osing tribe, the original tribe of Banyuwangi. Speaking with Osing language and dialect, ever made my friends stayed away from me and I used to be bullied because of the well-known stereotype that Banyuwangi is very familiar with santet (black magic). However, due to intensive and long social interaction and cultural exchanges among us, I was not treated like it had used to be.  

Studying in pesantren and being involved in organization made me know Rahima, an institution in Jakarta which collaborates with my pesantren to introduce reproductive health among santri. I was so glad, because after taking part in the training held by Rahima, I, previously a shy girl and have not had the courage to speak in forum, was challenged with many opportunities in gathering and meeting with Rahima’s partners from other pesantrens in Banyuwangi. In one of the seminars, I also met one of the participants who is apparently the son of my mother’s friend when she was still studying in pesantren. Unexpectedly, it made our parents got in touch each other again. Through Rahima’s forums, I came to know what and how the youth reproductive health is, what we should do in dealing with various reproductive health issues encountered by many young people.

Then, I graduated from Senior High School and I was accepted as a student at the University of Airlangga (PDD) Banyuwangi in the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine. Therefore, I moved from pesantren to continue my study there. Honestly, I was afraid to adjust with social life outside pesantren which in my opinion seems to be more free due to the globalization where people are interconnected regardless of national territorial boundaries. Indeed it causes a friction of social and cultural values. 

However, the interaction which we built through our social friendship made me become more open-minded. In the university, I also still got myself involved in organization and take part in one of its activities, My Trip My Adventure (MTMA). Through this community, I learned to adjust myself and got to know the nature and character of other friends from various ethnics and social backgrounds. We also exchanged and shared our experience together, not to mention our personal problems, family life, reproductive health, and the use of communication technology as well. 

Arizka, my friend, told me the story about Putri. She is the one among her other family members living outside the city who studied and lived in pesantren. Because of her strong curiosity, she asked her parent to buy a handphone. But since Putri chose and interacted with  mischievous friends, her behaviour was deemed inappropriate by the pesantren. One day Arizka caught Putri saved a porn film on her mobile. Putri also had ever run away with her two friends, seeking a man who persuaded her to be his second wife.

The above phenomenon makes us realize that pesantren encounters many challenges, including the easy access to communication tools and information. But such thing is supposed to be responded positively by devoting our teenage period for a better learning in order to become a useful figure for others. It is also by sharing correct, healthy, and responsible information for other santri as our peer groups, so the knowledge we got might be useful for other people.[] Dina Sri Lutfiana


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