“They might call it impairment, but for me this is a hidden potency!” said Mrs Supriyati, a disaster risk reduction (DRR) activist with a visual limitation. Mrs Supriyati was actively involved in a disability-inclusive DRR (DiDRR) programme implemented by ASB’s Office for Indonesia and the Philippines with support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Bantul, Yogyakarta. Mrs. Supriyati became involved in 2013 when she represented her disabled people’s organization (DPO) in a district DRR forum. She has then continually showed ‘potency’ through her liveliness and cheerful personality.
Mrs. Supriyati has been on the committee of PERTUNI and ITMI (local DPOs for people with visual limitations) for years. On her own initiative, she conducted basic DRR training for members of her organization immediately after she attended an initial capacity building activity organised by ASB. “This knowledge is very important, especially for person who are blind or have a visual limitation,” she said. She also added that mainstreaming DRR within DPO activities is essential since a person with disability might become most at risk in the event of a disaster.
Under the DIDRR Program, Mrs. Supriyati and 16 other representatives from DPOs participated in a series of training of facilitators activities and were involved in facilitating the disability-inclusive resilient village program in Kebonagung Village in Bantul. Not only involved in training delivery to community in the village, Mrs. Supriyati also visited households with DPO members to identify any functioning needs and to encourage persons with disabilities to participate in resilient village activities. From this experience, she found there were lots of persons with disabilities who were excluded from social activities in the village. She also saw that this marginalisation made persons with disabilities even more at-risk from disasters. Therefore, she noted, that information and knowledge about DRR has to be accessible for everyone in the community.
During the DiDRR program, Mrs. Supriyati stated that she did not find major difficulties in interacting with the wider community. She noted that participants were always eager to attend her sessions. Mrs. Supriyati’s meaningful participation in the programme has indeed been ‘potent’ in building positive attitudes towards women and persons with disabilities in her community. (Rizma Kristiana/edit: Dr. Alex Robinson)