From Grassroots Activism to National Wins: Indonesia’s Journey of Inclusion

Buyung Tanjung, Program Officer for Indonesia

DRF’s grantee convening in Bali gathered 20 OPDs to build unity and solidarity and build a collective vision for advocacy. Photo credit: Badet Zarhaeni 

The disability rights movement in Indonesia has come a long way! From our small beginnings in 2010 to now, we are seeing more unity, diversity, and cross-movement solidarity than ever before. Today, we celebrate the many strides and hard-fought wins that took years in the making. We honor activists for inclusion who walked before us, and new youth voices in the movement, who are challenging us to be more intersectional for groups that lie in the margins. 

While this journey towards inclusion is hindered with obstacles, we remain steadfast as we collectively dismantle systems of stigma and ableism. 

Here are some remarkable updates of advocacy strides and wins, both great and small: 

  • The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund have been funding in Indonesia since 2010, mobilizing nearly $ 6.5 million to over 185 organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs).
  • Grantee priorities, include inclusive policies at local and national levels, access to justice, inclusive disaster risk reduction responses, advocacy for deinstitutionalization, and more. 
  • Over the years, grantees have advocated on intersectional issues, such as HIV/AIDS, rights of migrant workers and Indigenous Peoples, climate justice, and more!
  • DRF grantees have secured significant wins, including the ratification of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2011 and the passing of the National Act on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2016.
  • In April 2022, Indonesian women with disabilities made history by passing an inclusive anti-gender-based-violence bill. DRF resourced cross-movement collaboration between the disability rights and mainstream feminist movement and provided technical assistance for years. 
  • Last year, we co-hosted a grantee convening in Bali with Pusat Pemilihan Umum Akses Disabilitas, gathering 20 OPDs and four coalition partners to build unity, share strategies for peer learning, and plant seeds for collaboration. 
  • DRF grantee, Indonesian Mental Health Association, is advocating for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the discourse on climate change. They are fostering dialogues between the disability and environmental justice movements, engaging in research on the impacts of climate change on persons with disabilities, Training of Trainers (ToT) on these intersections, and more.
  • This year, DRF grantee, OHANA, participated in C 20 in India, speaking at a side session on the intersection of disability, gender, and equity. “People with disabilities continues to face inequality and discrimination due to war, natural disasters, climate change, and poverty. This is why OHANA built a national coalition with PRAKARSA to increase the participation of OPDs to promote an inclusive international development and cooperation within the G20 leaders,” shared an OHANA member. 
  • DRF’s Co-Director of Programs, Dwi Ariyani, has been speaking at various forums, making a call to mobilize greater resources to Indonesian OPDs. She spoke at the Feminist Funded ’23 conference on the intersection of disability rights and gender equity. Dwi was also featured in Candid’s report on Centering Equity and Justice in Climate Philanthropy. 
Group photo of Indonesian OPDs at G 20 in Jaipur, India.
                                      Indonesian OPDs at G 20 in Jaipur, India.

As an Indonesian advocate for inclusion, I am immensely proud to witness these strides towards progress. Persons with disabilities have the solutions, lived experiences, and expertise to drive meaningful shifts and lead our communities towards a more just world, where all can thrive and live full lives. Thank you for being on this journey with us.