In 2017, for the first time, I met Siti Rodiyah, a young deaf activist who is a member of Gerkatin Pemuda. Together with Siti, Gerkatin Kepemudaan, Sedap Films, and Pamflet team, we collaborated on the Ini Cerita Kita programme funded by Voice in Indonesia to increase the capacity of deaf youth in conducting digital campaigns about their rights.
Siti is the person who introduced me to the issue of disability, especially the deaf. She taught me how to interact with deaf young people, their culture, their community, and how they strive to be treated inclusively by the government and society.
Siti opened my horizons to the layered discrimination experienced by deaf young people, such as in the family, environment, educational institutions, the world of work, and so on. Siti taught me that the disability she faces is not an obstacle to keep going and fighting for her rights. She taught me that we are different, yes, but differences are normal, and cannot be used as an excuse not to move together.
Thank you, Siti. Thank you for that magical moment.