My name is Doddy, Doddy Kurniawan Kahleri. I was born in Balikpapan on October 5, 1974. When I was eight months old, I had a high fever. My parents took me to the hospital to be treated. At the hospital, the doctor injected medicine into my body. After that, my left foot felt different, like never before. I felt weakness in my left leg and couldn’t move it anymore. While crawling, I could only drag my left leg. Since that incident, my parents started to find out what happened. Apparently I had polio. Until now I was classified as a motoric diffable person, more specifically left foot polio.
I completed Elementary School Education (SD) to Middle School of Technology (STM) in Balikpapan. I went to a public school, not an Extraordinary School (SLB) that people with special needs usually choose. My peers accepted me like other children without discrimination. Residents of the surrounding area did not differentiate myself from others. I am grateful to have grown up in a society that is tolerant of diffable person like me, because I know that there are many diffable friends who experience the weight of living with the pressure and discrimination from those around them.
In 1994 I joined my parents to move to the Yogyakarta Special Region (DIY), precisely in Babarsari area, Sleman. Not long after that we moved again and settled in Sendangadi area, Melati, Sleman. Both in Babarsari and in Sendangadi, I busied myself by becoming actively involved in youth organizations and youth of mosque with other young people. In addition to developing myself and socializing, my involvement in youth activities is also carried out so that the people around me see me positively.
Even though I grew up in an environment that was quite tolerant of diffable people, I still experienced discrimination when I was growing up.
I have faced problems like romance and the difficulty of getting a job. Before, I liked a girl. Our relationship was opposed by her parents. We struggled for three years to convince hier parents to bless our relationship. Initially, the girl’s parents did not approve of our relationship because of my physical condition. After three years we tried to convince them, finally in 2003 we were blessed and married. We are blessed with beautiful and healthy daughter. I am grateful to find a life companion who accepts my physical deficiencies and wants to fight with me.
As a diffable person, I also have a little trouble getting a job. Several times my job application was rejected. Until finally I decided to open my own business. Right now I work as an entrepreneur. I opened my own computer sales service as well as an online clothing store with my wife.
Around 2002 I met Budiono (now deceased) from an Extraordinary School (SLB) in Jogja. At that time I was repairing some broken computers in SLB, suddenly Budiono said, “You have good potential and useful knowledge. Why don’t you help other diffable friends to be like you?” Those words kept ringing in my mind and encouraged me to contribute to other diffable friends. I continue to be eager to gain knowledge. In 2004, I also attended Political Education in SIGAB located in Wonosari, Gunung Kidul.
In 2015, I had the opportunity to be involved in the Inclusion Village Pilot Project (Rindi). This program is an initiative of Program Peduli which aims to help diffable friends get their rights. Rindi still continues to this day.
The diffable organizations in the village were also strengthened. Actually the diffable organization has been established for a long time, but its existence is still lacking in the attention of the village government. The organization was still unclear and had not been given room to participate in village government policy making. When I participated at that time, we tried to strengthen the organization so that the diffable group also had a bargaining position and dared to express their aspirations.
We conveyed our needs, such as budgeting and providing room in village meetings. Finally, now the diffable organization has been noticed and given the room in the village meeting by the village government. In addition, we are also often invited to study and provide input to the Village Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMDes).
There are around 151 diffable people in my village. But the data is not accurate. There are still many people with disabilities who have not yet been recorded. There are some people who are unwilling to write down the names of their family members, especially those with mental disabilities, and choose to take care of them themselves. They also don’t mind if they don’t get help from the government. If that’s the case, I won’t force it. But not many are like that, maybe just one or two people. Even so, I still help them obtain the right to use government facilities in general.
At present, I and the diffable organization are working on special insurance for diffable friends in DIY. However, to make this happen we need to approach the village government first. Therefore, we tried to record all the diffable people in our village and then proposed to the village government. That way, our village government can propose to a higher level. We hope that the government can continue to support diffable groups by adding more public facilities that we have easy access to.
Apart from organization and government, I also help some other diffable friends to maximize their potential, just like my initial dream. In 2017, parents of a child with Cerebral Palsy named Qori, asked me to help their baby to be independent. Qori has motoric limitations that make her body limb. She was a shy child at the time. She only socializes with her family and friends in SLB.
One day I invited Qori and his family to computer and internet training in collaboration with Yogyakarta Amikom University. Apparently Qori was interested in the training. Qori told her mother that she wanted to have an online shop. I also look for ways to attract volunteers who are willing to channel their knowledge to diffable friends. Incidentally, that year the Office of Co-operatives and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) DIY held a National MSME Event. I also chatted with business friends there and met with digital activists. They are willing to volunteer for diffable friends, including Qori.
After several talks and exchanging ideas, my friends and I built Qori’s Garage, as the name implies, in the garage of Qori’s house. This activity was facilitated by Qori’s parents who provided a place and internet network. In this place we conduct training for diffable friends as well as non-diffabled on various things. At present our focus is on making 2D and 3D animations, as well as digital comics. In my opinion, the skill of making animation for diffable groups is needed at this time. I’m sure we can focus more and do it well because we have enough free time. Two to three years from now, diffable friends who have the skills to make animation may be able to be independent and get a job.
We made Qori’s garage to be an inclusive learning class for teenagers or young people. This activity brings together diffable and non-diffable children to communicate and interact until finally they become good friends. That is one of the objectives of the formation of this activity to make them realize that people with disabilities are the same as others.
Qori who used to be shy, now dared to open up and socialize anywhere. She even came to the Co-Working Space (DCW) of Communication and Information Office (Diskominfo) with her friends. I am glad there are positive changes, both for Qori and the surrounding environment that supports our activities.
In my opinion, the most important thing that must always be maintained to empower diffable groups is networking, that is, building relationships between diffable and non-diffable people. This is important so that we, the diffable group, can show our proper work.
All my and other friend’s efforts would not be smooth without the help of the government. Therefore, I hope that the government, both village and central, pay more attention to the rights of diffable people. In my area there is already Regional Regulation No. 4 Year 2012 on the fulfillment of disability rights. Unfortunately, the regulation is still not widely known by some village officials. This needs to be resolved immediately, so that the rights of diffable people can be fulfilled immediately.
I am very happy to see other diffable friends who can be independent like me. I hope that training and learning through the activities I organize can be useful so they are encouraged to work independently by exploring their potential.
May the Indonesian people continue to work together and be inclusive. For diffable friends, please accept the situation and continue to be involved in the community. I hope that the community will help the relatives who need special diffable facilities. Don’t differentiate us, diffable people, from the general public. We are a part of life that also wants independence.
Doddy is one of the organic cadres of Program Peduli called the Pandu Inklusi Nusantara (PINTAR). In November 2018, Doddy received an appreciation from Program Peduli at the PINTAR Appreciation Night event in Yogyakarta.