Remembering Yusdiana, Disabilities Rights Activist

Remembering Yusdiana, Disabilities Rights ActivistIt is with great sadness that the LMG Project team learned of the passing of Yusdiana, a well-known disabilities activist from Indonesia, after surgery on December 28, 2013. Well-known simply by her first name, Yusdiana was a strong activist and leader on the subject of making elections accessible and ensuring the political rights of persons with disabilities.

Yusdiana was the Program Manager for PPCI (Indonesia Disabled Persons’ Organization), which works in conjunction with three other organizations on developing the ASEAN General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA). The goal of AGENDA is to improve access to political and electoral opportunities for people with disabilities. Yusdiana also headed a training division for a project in conjunction with Helen Keller International that addressed maternal and infant health issues in her community. In addition, she was involved in projects related to the National Paralympics in Indonesia. She received a scholarship from the International Fellowship Program of the Ford Foundation to complete her Master’s in International Development Studies in the Netherlands. Yusdiana had polio and used a wheelchair.

LMG Project staff had the privilege of working with Yusdiana during a USAID-funded Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability (WILD) in Eugene, Oregon, from August 5-27, 2012 organized by non-profit organization Mobility International USA (MIUSA). The WILD institute, held in Eugene, Oregon from August 5-27, supported 26 disabled women activists from Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East in achieving their organizational goals, and document their accomplishments related to their activities in their respective countries.

Yusdiana was a particularly dynamic presence at the WILD conference and elsewhere. She was an election observer in Indonesia and Cambodia, spoke on human rights in international settings, and helped further the cause of ensuring full participation in electoral processes. She will be greatly missed.

In honor of Yusdiana, and in recognition of the important work that disabilities rights leaders are carrying out all over the world, the LMG team would like to share out a video from the WILD program in 2012 in which Yusdiana is featured: