Home News Inspirational Journey Unfolds: Young Solomon Islander, Sharon Totorea Triumphs Abroad

Inspirational Journey Unfolds: Young Solomon Islander, Sharon Totorea Triumphs Abroad

Sharon and other awardee mastering the Radai dance inspired by martial art and culture of Minangakbau
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An extraordinary tale of inspiration and triumph is unfolding. Meet Sharon Lydia Totorea, a passionate 27-year-old Youth Counsellor representing Solomon Islands in Indonesia. Her work as a youth volunteer with the Honiara City Council’s Youth, Sports, and Women Division earned her the prestigious Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship (IACS).

Beyond The Lens is thrilled to bring you an exclusive virtual interview with the inspiring Sharon Lydia Totorea, who is currently embarking on an extraordinary adventure as an esteemed Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship Awardee.

Sharon finds herself in Padang, Indonesia, surrounded by 44 other young people from 35 different countries, all participating in the “Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship” (IACS) program. This scholarship program commenced on June 1st and will culminate on August 17th, 2023. Divided into five groups, they were assigned to various Art Centres across Indonesia, offering Sharon a unique opportunity to delve into the country’s rich cultural heritage, especially in Padang.

Exploring Indonesia’s Cultural Heritage

Throughout her stay in Indonesia, Sharon has had the privilege of exploring iconic landmarks such as the Istiqlal Mosque, the revered “Jakarta Cathedral,” and the awe-inspiring National Monument (MONAS).

But the true essence of her journey lies in her immersion within the rich tapestry of Minangkabau culture while studying at the renowned Art Center, ‘Sanggar Syofyani.’ There, she mastered the traditional musical instrument ‘Talempong,’ experienced the captivating ‘Radai’ dance inspired by Minangakbau martial arts and culture, and gracefully embraced the ‘Salendang’ couple’s dance.

“One of my most unforgettable highlights is my stay in Padang, the capital city of West Sumatra, Indonesia. As one of the students attending and learning at the renowned Art Centre ‘Sanggar Syofyani,’. I immersed myself in the rich tapestry of Minangkabau culture, mastering the traditional musical instrument ‘Talempong,’ experiencing the captivating ‘Radai’ dance inspired by martial art and culture of Minangakbau, and gracefully embracing the ‘Salendang’ couple’s dance.”

Overcoming Challenges and Building Bridges

Indonesia is a vast and diverse country with more than 17,000 islands, making it the fourth most populous country in the world. With such a diverse population, Indonesia is home to over 700 languages and numerous regional dialects.

The official language of the country is Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), but due to its linguistic diversity, communication barriers can pose significant challenges.

Despite facing language barriers that initially hindered her communication, Sharon’s relentless spirit and resourcefulness broke down the walls of limitation. She turned strangers into friends and barriers into gateways of understanding.

Moreover, the spicy Indonesian cuisine posed a delightful challenge to her taste buds. Indonesia’s cuisine is a delightful and diverse tapestry of flavours, influenced by its rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources. The country’s unique cuisine is a blend of indigenous traditions, as well as influences from Chinese, Indian, Arabic, and European cultures.

However, such challenge did not deter Sharon from experiencing Indonesia, unique cuisine. She embraces and celebrates the culinary wonders of Padang, savouring the renowned delicacy “Rendang” with every bite. Rendang is considered one of the most flavourful dishes in the world. Rendang is a slow-cooked beef or chicken dish cooked with coconut milk and a rich blend of spices. The result is tender meat infused with a tantalizing array of aromatic flavours.

With each encounter, Sharon found inspiration in the very fabric of her journey. Her personality became a canvas on which cultural diversity painted an awe-inspiring masterpiece, instilling in her the profound importance of cherishing and preserving the precious heritage of her country Solomon Islands.

As Sharon discovered her cultural roots, she felt a strong message in her heart for young people who want to overcome self-doubt and start their own life-changing journeys.

She said, “You can achieve anything with determination and faith! I’ve experienced this first-hand, and I firmly believe that when we trust in ourselves and our dreams, amazing things can happen. No obstacle is too big when we believe in ourselves and stay true to our values. Let’s embrace our uniqueness and make a positive impact to our country.”

Making a Difference in the Solomon Islands

On her return, Sharon plans to use her newfound knowledge and skills to benefit her community and country, especially with young people in Honiara. As a devoted Youth Counsellor, she envisions organizing awareness campaigns, sharing the wisdom and cultural wealth she has acquired in Indonesia, with a particular focus on emotional well-being.

“I am confident that the program has given me the knowledge and skills that are beneficial for my counselling work on how to approach people with diverse cultures, different values, norms, and perspectives of the world and have awareness of the bias in cultural diversity.”

“This experience will equip me to be a better youth counsellor with the TokSpot project, under the Honiara City Council – Youth Division, funded by the New Zealand Government. I hope to come back and become an asset once again, while harnessing and enhancing the knowledge and skills to achieve our organization’s mandate.”

Sharon’s journey echoes a profound truth for young people of Solomon Islands – the Indonesian Arts and Culture Scholarship is a catalyst for transformation. It ignites a fire within young people, instilling in them the passion to embrace their unique identity, nurture their dreams, and explore the uncharted realms of cultural diversity.

Leaving an Everlasting Legacy and Empowered by Faith

In the luminous wake of Sharon Lydia Totorea’s odyssey, we glimpse a world of boundless horizons, where resilience, passion, and an enthusiastic desire to learn propel young people towards greatness.

Her journey is a testament to the extraordinary possibilities that await those who dare to dream, who embrace the beauty of their heritage, and who seize the baton of cultural unity to run a race that transcends borders and leaves an everlasting legacy.

Sharon ends her story with her favourite memory verse in the book of Hebrews 13:5-6 to empower young people, which says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. “So, we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”.

Join us in celebrating Sharon’s triumphs and inspiring journey. Let her story remind us all to embrace our uniqueness, believe in our dreams, and make a positive impact in our country. Together, we can overcome barriers and create a more connected and understanding national community.


Story by: Beyond The Lens

Beyond The Lens is a vibrant online media platform dedicated to advocating for youth issues. Our mission is to empower young people, amplify their voices, and drive positive change throughout the Solomon Islands using the power of online media.


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