Adelaide – I love almost all the session in these 12 weeks courses. I learn so many new things about domestic violence, child, gender analysis, and leadership in intensive training. It enhances my knowledge about gender and disability, and realizes me to give more attention to women with disabilities as well. Because as young leader who working with youth with disability and information resources issue, I comprehend that I missed the gender aspect while advocating disability issue through media communications.
Also, I got much learning moments during the field visits in some places. Some institution like Disability Information and Resource Center (DIRC) and Independent Living Center (ILC) inspire me to apply similar initiative in my home-country. This idea came up because I’m interested in disability and media issue, so some of the lessons might be applied in my community.
Furthermore, some guest speakers who visited us during the courses enhance my understanding about how Australia dealing with disability issue. People from Disability Care Australia, Brain Injury SA, Women with Disability SA, and so on are being very good resources to know more about this issue. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for me is really interesting because in Indonesia, we do not have such that scheme and I’d like to know the possibility to apply some of the principles in my home-country.
In the Leadership Network session, it improves my network to meet new people and introduce my activities and ideas to a stranger. It was very interesting while you try to challenge yourself to speak with a stranger, and find similar concern to discuss about. For example, in Civic Reception held by Mayor of Adelaide City, Stephen Yarwood, I met many people with various backgrounds, exchange business card to each other, and still being connected via social media like Twitter or Facebook.
Moreover, during the mentoring session, I discovered many things about Australia that I didn’t know before from my mentor. For instance, I notice the power relation between men and women in this western culture is quite balance. Not hard to find a man who help his wife working in kitchen or doing housekeeping. Also, I knew some facts about the relationship of man with disability in society from our discussion. How to be a man with disability in Australia is different with in developing countries like Indonesia and Cambodia.
Lastly, the duty to finish the Policy Brief paper, Action Plan, and Symposium presentation more likely build my leadership skills. While working on Policy Brief Paper in country group, I have to manage the task distribution. Because my two other team-mate do not have good English, I’m the one who responsible to writing the paper, managing the flow of thinking in the paper, find some data, and synthesizing much information from my team-mates who coming from government and DPOs. Also, in the symposium event, I encourage my mates to performing the presentation, and make sure their English.
Moreover, the action plan sessions improve my knowledge to create such good action plan. In my community organization, it is a usual thing to create action plan for our activities. However, I learn new method in building an action plan with the triangle method between cost, time, and goal. The session also reminds me to create good action plan, don’t leave the supervising and evaluation stages.
Overall, all activities in this fellowship improve my knowledge and leadership skills. All session of intensive training, guest speakers, and field visit enhance my knowledge and understanding about gender and disability issue. Before joining this fellowship, I still view gender and disability is separated issues. There are many movements in women issue, but few of them include the matter of women with disability. In same way, most of disability movement tends to only talk disability in general, not mention specifically the women. Further that, I know that gender and disability both are important and need to be combined.
For example in every field visits, the person in charge for those organization or institution must explain to us how gender and disability mainstreaming were implemented. That realizes me that we can only take one of the issues, it must be both thing implemented.
Furthermore, the leadership network session, action plan, policy paper, and symposium build my leadership skills a lot. For example, I need to manage my group based on their strength to contribute proportionally in the Policy Brief Paper. I can’t force them to do what they cannot do. I tried to collecting their opinion, and then writing it down with my understanding and synthesizing.
In addition, 12 weeks in Adelaide live far away from family contribute to my independence. Because I’m still single and live with parents, sometimes it makes me not really independent. But, manage everything by myself (except the cooking matter), taught me a lot how to live independently as person with visual impairment. Also, it’s kind of preparation for me to feel more confident to apply my master scholarship in Australia.(DPM)