Bali, May 14, 2018 – The global rate of children with disabilities in developing countries who don’t go to school is alarmingly high, but one Balinese teenager who uses a prosthetic leg is defying the odds as she tops her class academically and is about to graduate from high school.
18-year-old Ni Kadek Namiani Tiara Putri was born with a congenital birth defect which left her without a lower right leg, requiring her to use a prosthetic leg from PUSPADI Bali.
Namiani grew up in poverty in Badung in South Bali, where her father, I Wayan Suarsa, and mother, Ni Ketut Sari, worked together to sell supplies to local warungs so they could earn some money to try to support her and her two sisters. Later the family moved to Nusa Dua.
Determined to help their children break out of the cycle of poverty, Namiani’s parents did everything they can to ensure their children were able to access an education. Her father later helped Namiani to apply for a scholarship at the Bali Mandara School, which provides a free quality education to students from underprivileged backgrounds who show academic promise.
Since starting at the school in 2015, Namiani has excelled by ranking first in her class academically each year and is set to graduate at the end of May.
She never lets her disability limit her potential.
“My dream in the future is I want to be a psychologist and I used to dream about being a doctor but there are a lot of doctors out there and I think a job as a psychologist is still kind of rare and that’s what I want to be,” Namiani said.
It is an incredible feat considering one in every five children, adolescents and youth is out of school worldwide (UNESCO). Furthermore, an estimated 90% of children from developing countries don’t go to school (UNICEF).
Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world and the Government ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) in 2011 but there is still much to be done to boost the rights of people with disabilities.
An increasing number of girls and women with disabilities worldwide face double discrimination because of their gender and physical or intellectual condition.
“I have never been sad even though I have a disability because when I was growing up, I had been surrounded by people with no disability,” Namiani said. “For somebody who has a disability, maybe they would be embarrassed or shy but for me, no, because I believe that every single person has their own strength.”
Last year, she won the national ‘Essay Kekayaanintelektual’ competition for her piece about creating an organisation that stands for people’s rights.
“I am very proud of my daughter because once she decides to do something, she will do everything she can to do it well,” Namiani’s father Wayan Suarsa said.
Namiani is planning to apply to study psychology at a university in Central Java.
“Namiani as far as I know is a really humble student and even though she has a disability, the spirit of hers is really huge,” Bali Mandara School Principal Drs. I Nyoman Darta, M.Pd. said.
Throughout her life, she has been a keen advocate for people with disabilities to be treated equally and to pursue their rights to a quality education and jobs.
“Many people out there notice people with disability with only one eye because they see people with a disability with a physical limitation and that they may have many difficulties in doing things practically – but I don’t and my message to the wider public is to never notice people with a disability with only one eye,” Namiani said.
Namiani also motivates her siblings to succeed and her older sister will graduate from nursing this year while her younger sister is still in high school.
Note to media: Photos of Namiani at her school are available. Namiani and her family are also available for interviews and for photos or video.
About PUSPADI Bali
Since PUSPADI Bali established in 1999, it has provided mobility aids, rehabilitation and skills training to more than 5,000 people with disabilities from impoverished, remote areas of Bali and East Indonesia. For more information about our work, visit www.puspadibali.org. Learn more about PUSPADI Bali’s rehabilitation and skills training programs.