• Breaking News

    Thursday, December 1, 2016

    Empowering youth with disabilities: A success story from Indonesia

    Siddam Damsyik (standing with glasses) and his class. Photo courtesy of Joel Grant/IAYP Indonesia

    Meet Siddam Damsyik, a confident, driven and compassionate 23- year- old man from Aceh, who commits his time and efforts to empowering people with disabilities. Every week, Siddam teaches and translates English for the Wisma Cheshire Foundation, an NGO that serves people with disabilities, as well as volunteering several different NGOs and foundations around Jakarta and West Java. Siddam tirelessly commits his time and efforts to bettering the lives of those who have been unfortunate enough to suffer from a disability.

    Oh did I mention Siddam is doing all these activities blind? Four years ago Siddam suffered a tragic car accident and lost his vision, becoming fully blind. Despite being challenged by his disability, Siddam has never allowed it to hold himself back. In fact he’s made the most of his situation and become an ambassador for people with disabilities in Indonesia.

    “I was born as non-disabled, but 4 years ago I got into a car accident, becoming blind. At first, I couldn’t believe it, and I thought my life was going to be the over, because I couldn’t do anything without my eyes. But right now, I realize that eyes aren’t everything, and I am still able to continue my life without my eyes. I keep up my success, creativity, sharing and usefulness even though I am disabled. Right now, I’m a radio broadcaster, teacher, tour guide, and campaigner for the rights of persons with disabilities in Indonesia. I want to change public perspective about disabilities and I want to prove to the world that persons with disabilities are unique, independent, work hard, inspiring, and never give up. I want people to see me for my ability rather than my disability.”

    If you were to meet Siddam it would be difficult to describe him as disabled. On the contrary, he has achieved more than he could ever have imagined before becoming blind. Siddam was selected to represent Indonesia in last year’s Global Conference for Youths with Disabilities in Kenya. He also frequently features in the media as an advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

    What makes Siddam even more extraordinary is that he is Indonesia’s first person with a disability to receive the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People (IAYP). Through committing his time to fulfil weekly activities of skill development, physical recreation and community service, as well as an adventurous journey, Siddam has shown that anyone can receive their award, as long as they are willing to challenge themselves.

    Through the International Award, Siddam is able to pursue his passions, teaching English as a volunteer for community service, learning to be an interpreter as his skill and swimming for physical recreation.

    IAYP allows Siddam to receive an international certification (recognised in over 140 countries) for his achievements, with the potential to take him great places around the world. Siddam shows that the Award is for everyone between the ages of 14 and 24, regardless of background and circumstance. All you need is passion and a desire to do great things! What are you waiting for? Join us at IAYP Indonesia.

    About the Author 
    Sikdam Hasim

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